NFL's chief medical officer calls Carson Wentz 'heroic' for self-reporting concussion

It was probably never the way Carson Wentz envisioned being called “heroic” after an NFL playoff game, but it could end up being a lot more meaningful for the sport as a whole.

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NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills had high praise for the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback on Thursday, the week after Wentz exited the team’s wild-card loss against the Seattle Seahawks after taking a brutal hit to the helmet from Jadeveon Clowney, according to the Associated Press.

Sills had said earlier this week that none of the league’s concussion spotters had flagged Wentz after the hit, which could have allowed the quarterback to keep playing. Instead, Wentz reported the possible head injury taken from the hit and received medical attention.

That act stopped Wentz from playing the rest of the game, forcing the Eagles to play 40-year-old Josh McCown instead. For that, Sills is grateful.

From the AP:

“I think what Carson Wentz did is heroic and should be highlighted as an example of how an unbelievably skilled and competitive athlete understands the seriousness of concussion injury and is willing to honestly report it and receive the care that he needs independent of his desire and drive to continue to participate in the game,” Dr. Allen Sills told The Associated Press on Thursday. “Having a concussion and playing through it is not about toughness. That’s demonstrating a lack of understanding of the severity of the injury. So I applaud Carson Wentz for understanding how serious this injury is and for getting appropriate care that he needs.”

Players trying to avoid concussion tests so they can stay in the game has long been a major problem for the NFL. Just a month ago, one of Wentz’s own teammates admitted to lying to medical personnel about a potential concussion and not telling the truth until four days later.

Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz (11) gets up after a hit from Seattle Seahawks' Jadeveon Clowney during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Carson Wentz did a good thing by alerting medical personnel about a potential concussion. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, no one in the Eagles locker room has publicly criticized Wentz or suggested he should have risked his health for the team. One of Wentz’s best friends on the team, star tight end Zach Ertz, said the quarterback’s health is more imporant:

“In that situation, the health is the first thing,” said Ertz, who has suffered two concussions — that he knows of — in his seven-year career. “He’s got a family. He’s got a baby on the way. He’s got to think about something much bigger than football. Carson as a person, obviously, would love to do everything he can to win his first playoff game, but his health is the most important thing to all of us on this football team. I’d rather have him healthy and safe than for him to be at 50%, risking a severe brain injury.”

Hopefully, Wentz’s example can show at least a few younger players around the game that there are things more important than football, even when it’s the NFL playoffs.

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