Bears face issue of Urlacher's concussion remarks at seminar
The Chicago Bears, in conjunction with the NFL, hosted a seminar on concussion awareness for coaches and players from nearly 50 area high schools on Wednesday at Halas Hall.
And that put the team in an interesting position because less than a month ago Brian Urlacher, the face of the franchise, told HBO’s “Real Sports” that he would do all he could to not be honest if he suffered a concussion.
"If I have a concussion these days, I'm going to say, 'Oh man, something happened to my toe or knee or something, I've got to come out for a few plays,' just to get your bearings back," Urlacher told HBO.
"I'm not going to sit in there and say 'I got a concussion,’” he said. “I can't go in for the rest of the game.”
The Bears did their best to use Urlacher’s comments as a teaching tool for the young players who surely look up to the defensive stalwart.
"That's an honest reaction on Brian's part about how he would personally deal with concussion-like symptoms," Bears chairman and owner George McCaskey said. "He did not say it was the correct way. But it's a common mentality among athletes, they don't want to let their teammates down, their coaches down. There is a warrior mentality.
"This is exactly the reason we are here today. What can we learn from comments like Brian's? We have a long way to go to change the culture of sports. Players need to feel confident they can report problems without being labeled."
Urlacher is hardly alone in saying he would not want anyone to know he had a concussion. It’s an issue the NFL is trying to tackle but as long as jobs – and money – are on the line, it’s going to remain an issue.
By taking the message to youth, hopefully the education process will begin to turn the tide when it comes to dangerous head issues.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune