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  • Ted Johnson: Belichick ignored doctor's advice

    Johnson: Belichick ignored doctor's advice

    NEW YORK (Feb. 2, 2007) -- Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson said coach Bill Belichick subjected him to hard hits in practice while he was recovering from a concussion -- against the advice of the team's top trainer.

    Johnson, who helped the Patriots win three Super Bowl titles before retiring two years ago, told The New York Times that a collision with another player during that 2002 practice led to another concussion. And, after sustaining additional concussions over the next three seasons, he now forgets people's names, misses appointments and suffers from depression and an addiction to amphetamines.

    "There's something wrong with me," the 34-year-old Johnson told the Times in a story posted on its Web site Thursday night. "There's something wrong with my brain. And I know when it started."

    The Boston Globe, which is owned by the Times, posted a similar story on its Web site.

    Johnson, who played 10 years in the NFL, said he began to deteriorate in August 2002 with a concussion during an exhibition game against the New York Giants. He sustained another concussion four days later after Belichick prodded him to participate in a full-contact practice, even though he was supposed to be avoiding hits, Johnson said.

    The next month, with their relationship already strained, Johnson confronted Belichick about the practice after the coach asked him to meet in his office.

    "I told him, 'You played God with my health. You knew I shouldn't have been cleared to play,"' Johnson told the Globe.

    Belichick told the Globe he got no cue from Johnson in practice that day that he was hesitant about participating in the full-contact drill.

    "If Ted felt so strongly that he didn't feel he was ready to practice with us, he should have told me," Belichick said.

    The Patriots did not allow Jim Whalen, still their head trainer, to comment for this story, according to the Globe.

    Patriots spokesman Stacey James told The Associated Press that the team was aware of the report but was not prepared to comment.

    In a story last month, the Times reported that brain damage caused on the football field ultimately led to the suicide of former NFL defensive back Andre Waters last November, according to a forensic pathologist who studied Waters' brain tissue.

    "We have been focused on the issue of concussions for years," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP. "It remains one of our prime concerns as we continue to do everything possible to protect the health of our players."

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to answer questions about the issue at his annual state of the NFL news conference Feb. 2.

    Dr. Lee H. Schwamm, the neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who examined Johnson, wrote in a memo on Aug. 19, 2002, that Johnson sustained a second concussion in that practice, the Times reported.

    Schwamm also wrote that, after speaking with Whalen, that the trainer "was on the sidelines when he sustained the concussion during the game and assessed him frequently at the sideline," and that "he has kept Mr. Johnson out of contact since that time."

    Johnson said he spoke with Belichick the next day about the incident, but only briefly, the Times said.

    "He was vaguely acknowledging that he was aware of what happened," Johnson said, "and he wanted to just kind of let me know that he knew."

    Johnson sat out the next two preseason games on the advice of his neurologist, but played in the final one. Then, thinking he was still going to be left off the active roster for the season opener against Pittsburgh, he angrily left camp for two days before returning and meeting with Belichick.

    "It's as clear as a bell, 'I had to see if you could play,"' Johnson recalled Belichick saying, according to the Times.

    Moments later, Johnson said, Belichick admitted he had made a mistake by subjecting him to a full-contact drill.

    "It was a real kind of admittance, but it was only him and I in the room," Johnson told the Times.

    After returning to game action, the linebacker sustained more concussions of varying severity over the following three seasons, each of them exacerbating the next, according to his current neurologist, Dr. Robert Cantu.

    Cantu told the Times he was certain that Johnson's problems "are related to his previous head injuries, as they are all rather classic postconcussion symptoms."

    He added, "They are most likely permanent."

    Cantu, the chief of neurosurgery and director of sports medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., also said Johnson shows signs of early Alzheimer's disease.

    "The majority of those symptoms relentlessly progress over time," Cantu said. "It could be that at the time he's in his 50s, he could have severe Alzheimer's symptoms."

    Johnson told the Globe he estimates he had at least six concussions in his last three seasons, but reported only one because he already had a reputation as an injury-prone player and he didn't want to make it worse.

    "Looking back, it was stupid not to tell anyone," Johnson said. "But I didn't know then that every time you have a concussion, you are four to six times more susceptible the next time. I had no idea the damage I was causing myself."

    Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association, spoke in general terms about concussions at a news conference in Miami, where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday.

    "If a coach or anyone else is saying, 'You don't have a concussion, you get back in there,' you don't have to go, and you shouldn't go," Upshaw said, not speaking about Johnson's case specifically. "You know how you feel. That's what we tried to do throughout the years, is take the coach out of the decision-making. It's the medical people that have to decide."

    Upshaw told the AP that concussions are one of the issues the union is examining this year.

    "We've seen a number of concussions in the NFL this year, and as a result of our studies, we've seen a change in the helmet. We're also studying the effects of that on concussions," Upshaw said.

    LINK
    The Browns are gone; I'm not a fan of the Impostors

    The real Browns are in Baltimore, see?

  • #2
    That's a pretty sad story. If a coach has any knowledge of concussions, they KNOW not to play them. Not allowing the trainer to talk speaks volumes.
    Ready for the friggen season already!

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, the addiction to amphetamines is a bit of a reach......

      Bellichek shouldnt have cleared him, but if I'm injured, I don't go play. I simply tell the coach, I can't do it.

      I think both were morons in this.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Giveemlove
        That's a pretty sad story. If a coach has any knowledge of concussions, they KNOW not to play them. Not allowing the trainer to talk speaks volumes.
        What makes it worse is that this began during pre-season!

        Why does he "need to see if he can play" in the second of four meaningless pre-season games?

        I'm afraid that The Swetshirt isn't the only coach that is guilty of this.

        I believe Shanahan leaves the decisions up to Greek, and hopefully they take head injuries very seriously.

        .

        Comment


        • #5
          I was listening to KOA last night on the way home and they had Bill Romanowski on, he spoke of the same things. He said he had just gotten off of practice at the Raiders facilities and he got in his car and couldn't remember where his house was. Now, I know some of all of those drugs he was taking probably had something to do with it, but as we saw with Ali and alot of others that had taken a lot of hits, concussions have a lot to do with it. Pretty said to see the toll that the game takes on some of these hard hitters.
          Last edited by Giveemlove; 02-02-2007, 12:49 PM.
          Ready for the friggen season already!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CinnaManMan
            Well, the addiction to amphetamines is a bit of a reach......

            Bellichek shouldnt have cleared him, but if I'm injured, I don't go play. I simply tell the coach, I can't do it.

            I think both were morons in this.
            I agree both made mistakes but what I find amazing is that after Junior Seau got hurt this year Ted Johnson approached the Patriots and said he wanted to come back.

            Very odd.


            Mein angenommenes Yankee ist Johnny Damon

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            • #7
              No comment on Bellichek

              But I feel bad for Ted Johnson. He was a very good player and a great guy in the area. I hope he recovers and can lead a normal life soon.

              Johnson is a class act to me and always will be. Also very important part of the Pats. Since he left they have not been back to the Super Bowl.
              NHL Blog at:NHL Blog by Medford Bronco!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Medford Bronco
                Since he left they have not been back to the Super Bowl.
                Johnson was terrific in stopping the run, not so much in coverage.

                The key ingredient missing the last 2 postseasons has been Rodney Harrison. He definitely would have factored into the Indy game. We haven't beaten them in the last 3 tries in part b/c he was not out there. Hopefully he gets one more shot at them next season.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PatsCrowEater
                  I agree both made mistakes but what I find amazing is that after Junior Seau got hurt this year Ted Johnson approached the Patriots and said he wanted to come back.

                  Very odd.
                  Yeh...


                  ...but he thought it was his high school team.....
                  "It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate,
                  tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of
                  men."

                  -- Samuel Adams

                  sigpicJacks RULE!!!!!!

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                  • #10
                    Hard to know what the real truth is and who implemented what, but if I was Ted Johnson I just wouldn't have practiced. Especially if I felt something was truly wrong. It's simply not worth it.

                    "Peace is but a shadow of death, desperate to forget its painful past..."
                    -San Francisco 49ers: Five Time Super Bowl Champions-

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very sad story nowadays with these linebackers, safeties. I really hope he can fully recover.
                      sigpic

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