In Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams, Alex Smith, who was then the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, left the game with a concussion. Just three short weeks later, Smith is now healthy and the backup quarterback as the Niners ride the hot hand of Colin Kaepernick.
According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Smith is not happy with the demotion: “I mean it sucks, I don’t know what else to say.”
Actually, Smith did know what else to say because he didn’t feel like he lost his job due to performance, but rather the injury. “I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion.”
And there it is: the elephant in the room. Smith is saying he did nothing to lose his job, except get concussed. This implies Smith saying what we all figured–this is the reason why players don’t admit to having concussiosn. They want to continue to play and keep their jobs.
It goes without saying that playing time is reason number one why players hide concussions. This is the exact situation the NFL is trying avoid; a player getting his bell rung, shrugging it off and continuing to play. Smith is no different than any other NFL player. If they had it their way, they would hide their concussions so they could still be allowed to play. It’s also why the NFL has concussion specialists on the field.
Nobody likes to lose their job, especially to injury and that’s how Smith feels. What’s happened to Smith is what all players are afraid of and why they try to hide concussions.
The NFL is a rough game and its players are as tough as they come, but nothing hurts like losing your playing time.
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