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  1. #1
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    Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Twice-concussed Trent Green shouldn't still be playing
    By Matt Sohn (msohn@pfwmedia.com)
    May 22, 2008

    Journalists, by trade, are supposed to go about their business without bias. But just as every rule has its exception, please forgive me as I divulge an “unprofessional” truth: I have a favorite NFL player, and his name is Marc Bulger.
    This may seem odd, seeing as I’ve never directly covered him, nor have I ever even met him. I don’t have any particular affinity for the Rams, nor am I a fan of his alma mater, West Virginia. But I’m crossing my fingers that he puts together a quality season of work in 2008. I hope every pass meets his intended receiver’s hands, and that he doesn’t experience another bumbling, 11-touchdown, 15-interception campaign like he trudged through last season. Most importantly, I hope he stays healthy. Because should he fall victim to injury, or experience a continuation of his uncharacteristic shoddy play, backup Trent Green will be thrust under center. And that’s a scenario in which anybody who cares about a person’s well-being should shudder.
    The last two football seasons haven’t been kind to the persistent-to-a-fault Green. In Week One in 2006, Green, then with the Chiefs, suffered a severe concussion after the Bengals’ Robert Geathers careened into him while Green was sliding feet-first, causing his head to snap backward onto the turf. He lay unconscious and was removed from the field by a stretcher. Although he went on to start the final eight games of the season, he wasn’t close to approximating the level of play he was accustomed to, tossing eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the season’s latter half, including a wild-card playoff loss to the Colts.
    Undeterred, the Dolphins traded for him after the season, as new coach Cam Cameron targeted Green as the quarterback to run his offense. Five games into his plodding tenure with Miami, Green was victimized by his second severe concussion in 13 months. Blocking for Ted Ginn Jr. on an end-around, Green went low on Texans DT Travis Johnson, with Johnson’s knees clearly getting the best of the quarterback’s head. With Kevin Everett’s nightmarish incident still fresh in my mind, I remember fearing the worst, watching Green lie motionless on the Reliant Stadium grass. Luckily, it was “only” head trauma. It would have been like déjà vu all over again for Green if he could actually remember it. But unlike in ’06, there would be no comeback for Green this time around, as Miami wisely placed him on injured reserve two weeks after the incident.
    Cut shortly after the season, Green, 37, was expected by many to hang up the pads and retire from the game that had beaten him up so unmercilessly. Unfortunately, neither Green nor the Rams subscribed to the belief that he was done, as the club locked him up with a three-year, $8.9 million deal in early March. Great for the savings account, potentially debilitating for his chances of remembering his family members’ names years from now.
    A host of studies over the past several years has shed light onto the crippling long-term effects that repeated concussions can lead to. Depression and dementia — and often Alzheimer’s disease — are two of the conditions many in the medical community believe are caused by repeated head trauma.
    The consequences of concussions were largely brought to the forefront of the NFL consciousness by the suicide of former Eagles DB Andre Waters in 2006. Severely depressed, the 44-year-old Waters took a gun to his head after a 12-year career of launching his body into ballcarriers. After studying Waters’ brain, forensic neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, who’s since authored “Play Hard, Die Young: Football Dementia, Depression, and Death,” said it resembled the brain of someone twice Waters’ age.
    “Studies show that once a person has accumulated three severe concussions — with ‘severe’ as being marked by loss of consciousness — the chances of him having long-term problems become very real,” Omalu said in a phone interview. “There’s not as definitive a number for lesser-grade concussions, but every successive concussion has an irreversible, cumulative effect.”
    The public affirmation by such oft-concussed former players as Ted Johnson of the Patriots and Wayne Chrebet of the Jets regarding their constant struggles with depression and headaches only reinforces the studies’ claims.
    So taking into consideration that Green has twice been knocked unconscious, why would he possibly return? More importantly, how irresponsible is it of the Rams to allow him to come aboard?
    Before signing on with the Rams, Green sought the expertise of concussion expert Robert Cantu, chief of neurosurgery service and director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass.
    “(Cantu) assured Trent that he was at no greater risk of long-term consequences than any other player in the NFL,” said Green’s agent, Jim Steiner. “Trent wouldn’t be playing football if there were long-term issues at stake.”
    Because of the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement, Cantu wasn’t available to comment, which is really too bad, considering I’m dying to know how somebody with as prominent a concussion history as Green could be considered at “no greater risk” than the average player.
    This isn’t to suggest that Green will undoubtedly be subject to future ailments — regardless of whether or not he accrues another concussion. Omalu even admitted that there still hasn’t been enough testing to make all-encompassing statements about the correlation between concussions and depression/dementia. Yet, although I have no medical expertise, it seems to me that Cantu’s guarantee that Green faces no greater risk is simply ludicrous. When weighing football/money against quality of life, shouldn’t the latter win out, even if it requires the benefit of the doubt?
    Of course, if Bulger comes through, we’ll thankfully be spared the prospect of examining Green’s situation in hindsight. Hang tough, Marc. Your backup’s counting on you.


  2. #2
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Though I'm not a big fan of media hacks commenting on medical issues, I have a hard time disagreeing with the conclusion here. It hard not to think that Green is risking a lot to keep his career going.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    I agree. It's far for me to say that someone shouldn't work in the profession that they have made a living at for years. That has to be an individual judgement call. After gathering all the medical data, Trent Green himself has decided that he can still play. He signed the contract without anyone coercing him into it. Whatever happens to him now is on his own decisions.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Reminds me of Billy Bob in "not another teen movie". Anyone know what im talking about?

    It is a little alarming what could possibly happen with Green, but the doctor said he can play and if Green wants to, its his decision, though i think he will have some effects later in life from his concussions hes suffered.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Bulgers frailness guarantees Trent sees action. Still, the question shouldn't be about Trent's exposure to possible death, but Bulgers.
    Let the hype begin.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    I kinda' think Mr. Sohn should mind his own business.

    If he wants to write a GENERAL article about concussions - fine. But he's basically calling Green an idiot, and inferring that HIS specialist is smarter or better informed than Green's.

    Green's an adult, and he's doing what he wants to. End of story.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    I don't know much about concussions or the different level of them but Green has taken some awful hard hits to the head,so I would think it's very risky for him to continue,but as TX said it's his decision to make and he made it to play so hopefully he makes it through the contract healthy.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Quote Originally Posted by VegasRam View Post
    I kinda' think Mr. Sohn should mind his own business.

    If he wants to write a GENERAL article about concussions - fine. But he's basically calling Green an idiot, and inferring that HIS specialist is smarter or better informed than Green's.

    Green's an adult, and he's doing what he wants to. End of story.
    Exactly. I think Trent Green is continuing his carer for the love of the game. He wants to do what he can to help a struggling franchise. The Rams need a voice in the locker room, they got that in Trent Green.

    If the Rams line stays healthy, I'm more than sure Bulger will also. Green will still make an impact, just not on the field, where is health is on the line.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Green will still make an impact, just not on the field,...
    I, myself, would make one hell of a cheerleader for $8.9 million; maybe Green is hoping that he won't have to play.

    Pretty risky gamble.
    Always a Rams Fan............

    Rex Allen Markel

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Concussions ended the careers of both HOFers Steve Young and Troy Aikman. I wonder if Trent has ever bothered to consult with either of these men considering the fact that they played the same position as Trent, were also highly competitive, and suffered from multiple episodes of the same condition. Look this is sounding like a court case where evryone gets their own expert and both sides argue all day long whose expert is the more qualified and accurate. I certainly hope that Trent talks to fellow players like these who have gone through what he has, and can compare the rigors of playing in the NFL with retirement.

    WHAT SAY YE?

  11. #11
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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    After hearing about his last concussion, I thought Green was done - no way around it. However, Matt Sohn is a sports writer, not a doctor. If the concussion specialists say he can go, then I'd take their word for it. Anyway, as our backup QB, I'm more concerned about Trent Green's arm than his head.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    I can see both sides of the issue here, but while I think Green is taking a risk, he's certainly made the effort to assess that risk by seeing a noted concussion expert and making his decision based on what he was told.

    I'd be very interested to hear Green explain the process he went through, how many medical opinions he recieved, any players he talked to and how he feels about the risks involved.

  13. #13
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    I'd feel a bit more comfortable about his mental recovery from his last head injury had he not signed his contract under the name "Hacksaw Jim Duggan."

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    Everyone mark this thread. This is act one.
    Let the hype begin.

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    Re: Trent Green Shouldn't Be Playing (ProFootballWeekly Article)

    I think you have to look at each situation and Green's is one that I'm comfortable with him coming back. He isn't like Chris Miller who would get a concussion buckling his chinstrap. Green has taken a devastating hit and a well placed knee to the temple. If he isn't suffering lingering effects and is passing all the examinations then I think it's easy to understand his motivation.

    He gets to play in his home town again, $9 million and a very good chance to get some playing time for the OC that coached him to his best years as a pro. A swan song to be sure but it seems to me that he has all his marbles and is making an informed decision.

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