Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu admitted today that he has lied about head injuries in order to remain on the field.
Polamalu made the admission on the Dan Patrick Show. He added that football players recognize a distinction between a blow to the head that completely removes them from a game and a lighter one, which doctors still might view as a concussion.
“I’ve had, I believe, eight or nine recorded concussions,” Polamalu told the show. “We’ll have another conversation after I’m done playing football. When you get your bell rung they consider that a concussion — I wouldn’t … If that is considered a concussion, I’d say any football player at least records 50 to 100 concussions a year.”
Polamalu added that he hasn’t told “any major lies, where I totally lied my way out of concussions. In fact, during concussions, if it’s serious enough you can’t even be conscious enough to lie.”
Polamalu cited the commitment that he and other players make to their teammates and the sport as his rationale.
“There’s so much built up about team camaraderie and sacrifice, and football is such a tough man’s game,” he said. “I think that’s why it’s so popular, why so many blue-collar communities and people feel really attracted to it, because it’s sort of a blue-collar struggle that football players go through in terms of the physicality of the game and the commitment you need. … It’s that commitment you need to play football. You feel sore, you’re beat up, you’re injured, you’re legitimately injured, most people may take three months off to work in an office, we choose to play the next week.”