Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took another imPACT test Wednesday morning and was told by team trainers that he could practice in the afternoon when the Steelers began preparations for their game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
He was a full participant in the afternoon practice.
Roethlisberger, who was struck in the head late in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 39-30 loss Sunday in Seattle, took a similar test Tuesday and believed he had passed before being told by the team that he had a concussion.
“I took the test this morning,” Roethlisberger said. “I was told I can practice. That’s all I know. I don’t know the results of the test, but I was told I can practice. Until coach Tomlin announces something different I’m preparing to practice.”
Roethlisberger expressed some frustration about the way the news of his concussion was handled Tuesday. After taking his imPACT test Tuesday morning, Roethlisberger went on his radio show on 93.7 The Fan and said he didn’t have a concussion. Then an hour later, coach Mike Tomlin told reporters at his news conference that Roethlisberger did have a concussion and was in the NFL concussion protocol.
“I said I didn’t know the results then, but I felt good because when I left the training room the trainers told me this looks good,” Roethlisberger said. “Don’t see why this would be an issue. That’s why I said I didn’t have a concussion and would be ready to go. He did say he’d have to check with a third party. Obviously, whether that’s coach Tomlin or another doctor, they said you’re not clear. Whether they’re covering rear ends or what’s going on. … I said OK I’ll take it [this] morning. I got the same thing from the trainers. They said, ’Ben it’s fine.’ You’re ready to practice. Until I hear otherwise I’m ready to practice.”
Roethlisberger said he never experienced the typical symptoms of a concussion. Other than some problems with his peripheral vision on the field he has felt fine since shortly after the game ended.
“I had no symptoms of a concussion,” Roethlisberger said. “No dizziness, no nausea, none of that stuff that comes with it. When I told the doctors, Dr. Maroon and the training staff said I didn’t have a concussion. That’s why I was so confused yesterday when coach Tomlin said I had one. They need to get together and tell their players what’s going on because I was just relaying what the doctors told me.”
"It's tough to fight through a concussion. ... But it's not smart. That's the one part of your body you shouldn't mess with." — Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger admitted if he was a first- or second-year player in the league he would not have taken himself out of the game. Now that he has a family and has played 12 years in the league he believes more players should self-report symptoms when they are struck in the head.
“We are blessed to be able to stand on a big platform and reach a lot of people,” he said. “If you can reach one person you can feel like it’s a successful day. So many young kids, middle school, high school, college, it’s tough to fight through a concussion. It was tough when I first got in the league, and it probably still is. But it’s not smart. That’s the one part of your body you shouldn’t mess with.”
Roethlisberger said the recent news of Frank Gifford and other former players having CTE has reshaped his perspective on playing through brain injuries.
“You see the ramifications 10, 20 years after they’re done playing,” he said. “It’s sad. I don’t want my teammates when you have reunions. … I don’t want to see guys drooling and not being able to remember things. I think we all need to speak up about it.”