Excerpts of NFL players' interviews on concussions
From Dec. 14-22, The Associated Press interviewed 44 NFL players - at least one from each of the league's 32 teams - to gauge whether concussion safety and attitudes about head injuries have changed in the past two years.
Here are some of their responses:
''Well, you know, the league is so hard on players these days. Guys are trying to get the most they can, especially when they don't feel they've fully achieved what they have in this business. I think at this point in my life, for me personally, if I had a concussion, I'd try to hide it.''
''Before these studies came out, I'd probably say, `Hide and stay in the game.' But with the studies now, I would ... tell someone and let them know because ... these guys having all these problems off the field - it scares me. I would want to tell someone to evaluate me, because it's not just myself. I think about my wife and kids. I want to be around for them well after these days of football are over. I love the game, but I care about my health as well.''
''There's a lot more awareness. If a guy gets a concussion today and comes to the sideline and isn't sure where he's at or whatever, he's not likely to go back in. Ten years ago, it might have been different.''
''Some people are worried about their health and their future. I just want to stay on the field.''
''Obviously, they take extra-special care of the quarterback. But even as a receiver going across the middle, you know, for the most part, they're not going to be head-hunting (now). When I came into the league, that's all they did. They were coming to knock your head off. That's what they wanted to do. That was the purpose of the hit - to get you out of the game and make the crowd say, `Ooh,' as Ronnie Lott puts it. Yeah, it's definitely safer, no doubt about it.''
''I think the old adage was to try to tough it out - the `I'm tough' mentality. I think we've been educated enough, and know people who have had concussions, so I think we're well aware that we always look for longevity and safety. Believe it or not, when you meet players after the game from the opposing team, that's the first thing we wish: `Hey, have a healthy season, man.'''