This is the shocking moment Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage lay twitching on the ground after taking a hit to the head yesterday.
But incredibly he was cleared to re-enter the game against the San Francisco 49ers for one series after sustaining a concussion – raising questions about the NFL’s procedure for evaluating such injuries during games.
Savage was hurt with about nine minutes remaining in the second quarter of Houston’s 26-16 loss when he was driven to the ground with a hit by Elvis Dumervil.
Replays showed Savage looking dazed after his head hit the ground, with both of his arms shaking and lifted upward.
Replays showed Savage looking dazed after his head hit the ground, with both of his arms shaking and lifted upward
Savage was hurt with about nine minutes remaining in the second quarter of Houston’s 26-16 loss when he was driven to the ground with a hit by Elvis Dumervil
He was taken to the medical tent where he stayed for less than three minutes before returning to the bench and going back in for the next series.
He threw two incompletions on that drive, and Houston’s team doctor approached him after he returned to the sideline after that possession.
Savage tried repeatedly to enter the game on the next series. But a team official kept grabbing Savage’s jersey and finally his arm and pulled him away from the field.
He could be seen arguing with that person and the team’s trainer before being escorted to the locker room.
Coach Bill O’Brien said he was evaluated for a concussion after the hit and cleared to return, but that he was evaluated again after he returned because ‘because of what they saw,’ without providing details of what that was.
‘They try to make the best decision for the player,’ O’Brien said.
‘Whatever they see and the testing that they do they try to make the best decision with the player and they weren’t satisfied with the results of the second test so they decided to pull him, and that’s when he went into the locker room.’
O’Brien was then asked if it was worrisome that Savage was allowed to return to the game when he had a concussion.
It comes amid increasing concern over links between on-field concussions and neurodegenerative diseases in players – including, infamously, the late Aaron Hernandez (pictured)
‘I don’t direct that. I don’t direct that at all,’ he said. ‘They just come to me and that’s kind of where that’s at. I don’t have anything to do with that. All I do is coach.’
Several of Savage’s teammates said they didn’t notice anything different about him on the drive after he was injured, and T.J. Yates, who took over for him, said the same thing.
WHAT IS CTE?
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by repeated hits to the head.
Over time, these hard impacts result in confusion, depression and eventually dementia.
There have been several retired football players who have come forward with brain diseases.
They are attributing their condition to playing football and the hits they took.
More than 1,800 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for CTE research.
CTE was usually associated with boxing before former NFL players began revealing their conditions.
‘When he got back to the sideline he seemed fine and coherent,’ Yates said.
It comes amid increasing concern over links between on-field concussions and neurodegenerative diseases in players – including, infamously, the late Aaron Hernandez.
Hernandez, a former Patriots player, killed himself in his prison cell in April. He was serving a life sentence for murder.
He had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a football-linked brain disease which triggers aggression, suicidal thoughts and dementia, according to test results released by his lawyer in September.
In one of the worst cases ever seen in someone so young – he was 27 – his brain scans revealed huge clumps of tau protein in the frontal lobes, and in the nerve cells around small blood vessels, a unique feature of CTE.
These proteins, also seen in dementia, disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, triggering aggressiveness, explosiveness, impulsivity, depression, memory loss and other cognitive changes.