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Big Ben Cleared to Practice Following “Concussion”

The NFL’s ironman, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, suffered an injury of an entirely different ilk last week. The man willing to play through just about any kind of physical pain was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms that sent him to the locker room during garbage time. Mere days later, Roethlisberger has been cleared to return to practice.

Big Ben was listed as a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, indicating he will take the field on Sunday night for a must-win clash at home against the Indianapolis Colts.

Through the week, Roethlisberger admitted the scare left him “thinking about his family” and that he was willing to “play through any injury except brain.” However, he also expressed some displeasure at the convoluted, hearsay-esque manner in which his injury was disclosed to both himself and the media.

“I didn’t know the results [after completing the impact test in Seattle], but I felt good because when I left the training room the trainers told me this looks good,” Ben explained on his weekly local radio show.

“I had no symptoms of a concussion. No dizziness, no nausea, none of that stuff that comes with it. The doctors and the training staff told me I didn’t have a concussion. That’s why I was so confused [on Tuesday] when Coach Tomlin said I had one.”

It’s understandable that any sort of brain- or head-related injuries may be difficult to diagnose in a brief amount of time. Some even brought up the hazard in keeping Roethlisberger on the field for another drive following the hit to his helmet. With the game still very much in the balance, it wasn’t until the Seahawks pulled away late that Roethlisberger retired to the training room.

The lack of confirmation regarding his injury marks another ugly stain on the NFL’s reputation for failing to take these matters seriously beyond simply a PR standpoint.

It seems the hard and fast guidelines the league promotes are not being enforced strictly enough, leading to miscommunication and misinformation, not to mention endangering the safety of players.

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