The Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers will go into their game Monday night with question marks at quarterback. Both Jay Cutler of the Bears and Alex Smith of the 49ers suffered concussions in their games Sunday. It is unsure if either will play Monday.
Smith suffered his concussion in the second quarter against the St. Louis Rams when he tried to run for a first down. Caught between trying to slide or go head first he was hit hard in the back by Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Smith stayed in the game and threw a touchdown pass, but sat out the second half. Colin Kaepernick took his place as San Francisco played the Rams to a 24-24 tie.
Later that night Cutler was hit hard by Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins after he scrambled and threw. The Bears medical staff checked on Cutler and he returned to the field. However, after seven plays Cutler was removed from the game and replaced by Jason Campbell. Chicago went on to lose 13-6.
Like many quarterbacks Cutler and Smith have had concussion issues. It is almost impossible to play NFL football and not suffer brain trauma. Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles was knocked out of his game with the Dallas Cowboys with a concussion as well. The league is putting an emphasis on brain injuries and trying to make the game safer, but concussions will always occur when large men run into each other at top speed.
Anyone who has played tackle football at any level has suffered some kind of brain damage. I played from age 10 to 17 and suffered three. The first two came in youth football and the last in high school. In youth, I was knocked out cold the first time and missed a week of school. The second time I played through it and didn’t tell anyone. I also played through the one in high school.
Before football I suffered one concussion when hitting the floor hard at home. After playing I suffered a couple more playing pickup games and organized touch. In all I believe that I have suffered seven concussions.
If Cutler and Smith are smart they will not play Sunday. If the Bears and 49ers are looking out for their best interest then they will sit both of them. Concussions are nothing to play with. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.
The Chicago-San Francisco game is a big one with playoff implications. The Bears are 7-2 while the 49ers are 6-2-1. However, the game should not take precedent over any player’s health.
If Chicago and San Francisco have to play without their quarterbacks then so be it.
Cutler and Smith’s health is much more important than football.