Mike Holmgren Offers Some Clarification on the Concussion Incident

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 8: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 14-3. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

When Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren speaks these days, there is a significant purpose for doing so. I believe he has only spoken one other time this season, and that was in October to address both the Peyton Hillis drama and to backtrack on some comments he had made on a Seattle radio station. Holmgren met with the media today to discuss what really happened on the sidelines following James Harrison's hit on quarterback Colt McCoy last Thursday. In case you've been living under a black cloud, the Browns have come under fire for reportedly putting McCoy back into the game when he had a concussion.

Per Holmgren, McCoy was not administered a concussion test on the sidelines due to a breakdown in the system that the NFL has in place for concussions. To paraphrase, here is what happened:

  • The Browns' medical staff did not see Harrison's hit on McCoy. When they were alerted that McCoy needed attention, they went over to him. McCoy was conscious and was only complaining about his left hand. He showed no symptoms of a concussion, so the medical staff only treated his hand.
  • The league has an appointed observer at every game who is supposed to alert the medical staff of any potential injury or concussion. Whoever this person was did not alert the Browns' medical staff about the possibility of a concussion because they saw the staff attending to McCoy, and presumably thought that they knew what happened already.
  • The staff still asked him some baseline questions, such as how much time was left, and he continued to not show any symptoms of a concussion. McCoy was not tested for a concussion until after the game, a test which he passed. McCoy was "startled by a loud noise" in the locker room though, and treating for concussion-like symptoms commenced.

McCoy was sent home on Wednesday and will not practice, according to Holmgren. He has a headache still, but other than that was fine. While there is no concrete answer as to whether or not he'll play this Sunday, given the extended time he has had off, I think he'll be out there against Arizona.

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