What it’s like to play through a concussion, according to Alex Smith
Former University of Utah and NFL quarterback Alex Smith admits he once led a touchdown drive while battling concussion symptoms
During his Oct. 3 appearance on the “ESPN Daily” podcast, Smith described playing through concussion symptoms while with the San Francisco 49ers. He actually led a touchdown drive while struggling to see, he said.
“I had what I would call a star in my vision,” he told podcast host Pablo Torre. “It was like if you looked at sun for a little while.”
Although Smith knew something was wrong, he didn’t want to get trainers and doctors involved — at least not while the 49ers were driving. He said he popped up after the initial hit and “acted like nothing happened.”
“I was hiding symptoms at that point, trying to assess internally if ... I could play through it,” he said.
Smith, who played in college for the University of Utah, went on to describe how he and other players could manipulate the NFL’s concussion test if they really wanted to stay in the game.
“There is some level of half-truths that get told. There’s clearly withholding of information,” he said.
NFL officials are hoping to make it more difficult to manipulate concussion assessments with updates to current protocols, which could come as soon as this week, according to NFL.com.
The changes were prompted by the recent drama involving Tagovailoa, who went down during the Thursday Night Football game last week just four days after appearing to suffer from concussion symptoms but continuing to play.
“The updated protocols will essentially close the loophole that allowed Tagovailoa to return to the field ... eliminating any subjectivity about the cause of a player’s instability and simply ruling the player out,” NFL.com reported.