On a day when the San Diego Chargers dominated sports media, the real lead got buried between the news of head coach Norv Turner keeping his job and owner Dean Spanos saying he could not say with certainty that the team would still be in San Diego next season.
The most important news out of Chargers camp today was comments made by left guard Kris Dielman who spoke publicly for the first time since suffering a season-ending concussion against the New York Jets in week seven.
If you recall (watch the video here: http://tinyurl.com/7zyz3hg ), a disoriented Dielman stumbled around the field after sustaining a concussion in the third quarter, yet continued to play for the duration of the game before the concussion was diagnosed after the 27-21 loss at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Dielman subsequently suffered a grand mal seizure on the team plane as the Chargers were flying from the east coast back home to San Diego after the game.
Despite being hospitalized and placed on the Injured Reserve list, the married father of two young sons said he would be willing to risk his health to win a Super Bowl.
“‘Yeah [would risk health issues to play for a Super Bowl], I think so ,’ Dielman said Monday in his first comments about his injury, which caused the NFL to announce it would give game officials “concussion awareness training” so they could keep an eye out for players. ‘I’ve got some other people who probably wouldn’t agree,’ said Dielman, who added that ultimately it will be his decision whether he returns or retires.”
Dielman made a few contradictory statements. The 320-pound, four-time Pro Bowl selection said that while he and head coach Norv Turner made a joint decision to place him on IR because he felt ill, that he would still knowingly play with a head injury, even in light of his recent experiences. Here’s more from CBSSports.com:
"Asked if he’d be more cognizant about a possible concussion and would pull himself out of a game, Dielman said: ‘Apparently, I won’t do that. That’s the scary part, too. I’ll play through just about anything and I’ve played through this one and it got me. I’ve made my whole career doing dumb [stuff] like that.’ Dielman said he doesn’t remember the hit that hurt him. ‘It looks like I’m drunk,’ he said. ‘Deal with it. That’s how I got here, doing stupid [stuff] on the football field. It got me 10 years in, so I’m all right with that.’"
This is why the decision has to be taken out of the players’ hands, and legally, it is according to rules implemented by the NFL, NHL, etc, stating that only medical professionals can determine whether or not an injured player is healthy enough to play, not a coach or the player himself. The problem is that while the rules are in place, they are not being enforced. Read what NFL players have said about that here: http://tinyurl.com/blgc6pl
As far as his future is concerned, Dielman said he will take the offseason to speak with his family and doctors before deciding whether or not to retire or continue playing. I found the following quotations quite interesting:
“‘If I didn’t have kids and a family, the decision would be much easier. I probably would have been playing again this year,’ he said. ‘It’s not just me. I have two little boys and a wife. I have to make sure everything’s all right with me and I have to see some doctors still and make a decision from there. Whenever I choose, I’m not going to do anything to hurt the organization.’”
He won’t do anything to hurt the organization? What about his children? I’m sure Dielman cares deeply for his family (at lease one would hope), so his priorities seem misguided.
“‘No ring. I’ve only got a wedding ring,’ he said. ‘I’ve done the Pro Bowls, I’ve done the contract. I want a Super Bowl. I’m no different than anybody else in San Diego that’s (complaining) and moaning about not being in the Super Bowl. Trust me; we want to be in the Super Bowl, too. It’s not an easy league.’”
Being a fierce competitor is usually what makes a great athlete, but sometimes, it can break him just the same. The hunger for competition can be dangerous to those who want something so badly and perhaps feel an air of invincibility. I hope that Dielman uses his head and health to guide him instead of his heart and pride moving forward.
On a larger scale, hopefully the NFL will take note of Dielman’s interview and use it as further evidence proving the need for medical professionals to make medical decisions for players who perhaps lack the strength to do the right thing for themselves and their families.
To read the CBSSports.com piece on Kris Dielman in its entirety, which I highly recommend, click here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/16697114/chargers-guard-dielman-willing-to-risk-health-in-pursuit-of-super-bowl-ring
Chargers G Kris Dielman Out After Suffering Seizure On Team Plane Following Jets Game In Which He Sustained A Concussion And Continued Playing
The San Diego Chargers, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, “have some explaining to do!”
Remember when the Bolts’ left guard Kris Dielman stumbled around the field, struggling to find his balance after a first down play against the Jets at the Meadowlands last Sunday? Did you find yourself surprised when the Chargers left their four-time Pro Bowl player in the game, despite the fact that he never appeared to fully regain his composure?
If you, like me, found yourself worried for Dielman, turns out we both had good reason to be.
The 30-year-old, in his ninth NFL season will miss the Chargers’ next two games (at least) after suffering a “violent” and “scary” Grand mal seizure on the airplane near the end of the Charger’s flight home after their loss to the Jets, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Apparently, Dielman did, in fact suffer a concussion on a first down blocking play where Mike Tolbert lost a yard at the 12:33 mark of the fourth quarter. As you can see in the video above, the guard staggers around the field, clearly disoriented, prompting a referee to tend to Dielman.
Here’s where the situation gets shady. The Chargers took a timeout at that point, yet resumed the game with Dielman still on the field, not only for the rest of that particular Chargers possession, but for the rest of the game. I can’t remember if Dielman was checked out on the sideline or on the field before or during the time out, or if the TV broadcast even showed it. It happened quickly and I can’t find that portion of the video currently.
While Dielman did not confirm having the seizure, he did have this to say to the Union Tribune: “I just banged my head a little bit. Now I gotta deal with it.”
According to the article, “while it would seem unfathomably coincidental, two sources said doctors were not certain the concussion and seizure were related.”
This is what I know for sure. After that Chargers time out, I was shocked to see Dielman back in the game. I kept my eyes on him for the following two plays, the latter of which was Darrell Revis’ 64-yard interception. In both plays, Dielman could not keep his head upright in his stance. He was the only player on the line with his head completely down. It looked like he attempted to keep his head upright and look forward a few times right after lining up, but he couldn’t hold on, subsequently dropping his head down.
Speaking with the Union Tribune, Dielman’s agent Mike McCartney expressed frustration with the Chargers (he also sounded off on Twitter) over their treatment, or lack thereof, of his client.
“If Kris, indeed, suffered a concussion and continued to play, I’m extremely disappointed,” McCartney said.”
"McCartney said he did not know when Dielman’s concussion was diagnosed. A player suspected of having suffered a concussion is required by NFL policy to be evaluated using the NFL “sidelines concussion exam.”
According to the Mayo Clinic website, while Grand mal seizures are commonly associated with Epilepsy, it lists “traumatic head injuries” as a cause.
"Grand mal seizures occur when the electrical activity over the whole surface of the brain becomes abnormally synchronized," according to the website. In other words, it’s some serious s***.
If the referees, players and viewers at home all witnessed Dielman wobbling like a drunk college kid outside of a bar, how did the Chargers coaching and medical staff not notice? Surely, they did notice, but chose the wrong course of action.
The Union Tribune article says that San Diego was out of options, inferring that is what kept Dielman on the field, despite the injury. “At the time Dielman was hurt, the Chargers ostensibly had no one to replace him. Scott Mruczkowski had suffered a neck injury, Brandyn Dombrowski was already playing left tackle after the departure of Marcus McNeill due to injury and Green was inactive.”
Until a doctor who has personally checked out Dielman says that the concussion and seizure are unrelated, the Chargers medical staff should be ashamed of themselves, owing Dielman an apology and a promise to the NFL to never pull a stunt like that again.
Read the San Diego Union Tribune article in it’s entirety here: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/oct/27/dielman-out-vs-chiefs/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter