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02-02-2007, 10:39 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - Former New England Patriots (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/67054) linebacker Ted Johnson (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/player/70224) 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 (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/67054) 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 (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/67056). 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 (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/67054) did not allow Jim Whalen, still their head trainer, to comment for this story, according to the Globe.

Patriots (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/team/67054) spokesman Stacey James told The Associated Press on Thursday night 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 Friday.

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 Thursday 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.



http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/6434128

satz
02-02-2007, 12:14 PM
I am confused as he did not tell anyone and like a week ago he on TV telling bill to call him as seau was injured and they needed LB help.
He said he can play now to shore up the patriots against the colts .

Roman529
02-02-2007, 05:48 PM
Something tells me Belichick could care less. He's a classless coach and person.

cnc66
02-02-2007, 05:51 PM
Rome is talking about this right now.

HysterikiLL
02-02-2007, 05:54 PM
Something tells me Belichick could care less. He's a classless coach and person.


:yes:

Muck
02-02-2007, 05:55 PM
I am confused as he did not tell anyone and like a week ago he on TV telling bill to call him as seau was injured and they needed LB help.
He said he can play now to shore up the patriots against the colts .

He's got early Alzheimer's. He probably forgot what day it was. lol

Seriously, not a good situation.

SKing29
02-02-2007, 08:03 PM
I seen this on ESPNEWS and they laid the blame on Johnson saying that the player has to make these decisions themselves since its their body. Yeah, that may be, but when someone is put into a situation where if he doesn't do something that he will lose his job, he will do whatever needs to be done, regardless of what it will do to his health just to keep his job. So Johnson was put into a situation that he should have never been in, you would think that with what Johnson had done for the Patriots that Bellichick would have just let him sit out the rest of the preseason, I mean he had to know Johnson was one of his best LB's at the time, just a bad move on Bellichick's part.

Sethdaddy8
02-02-2007, 10:39 PM
I seen this on ESPNEWS and they laid the blame on Johnson saying that the player has to make these decisions themselves since its their body. Yeah, that may be, but when someone is put into a situation where if he doesn't do something that he will lose his job, he will do whatever needs to be done, regardless of what it will do to his health just to keep his job. So Johnson was put into a situation that he should have never been in, you would think that with what Johnson had done for the Patriots that Bellichick would have just let him sit out the rest of the preseason, I mean he had to know Johnson was one of his best LB's at the time, just a bad move on Bellichick's part.

Very good point. And its becoming evident more and more, the kind of guy Bill Belicheck really is. Concussions as a whole, are so underrated as far as significance. Your brain is so much more valuable then your knee, shoulder, or any other bodypart that could get injured in the game.

rob19
02-02-2007, 10:43 PM
Belichick is a claseless prick. I cant stand the guy.

wazzy
02-02-2007, 10:49 PM
I see both sides at fault! He shouldn't of kept going and BB shouldn't of been a self-centred heartless ******* but that is the business and hes good at it! Its kind of sickening!

satz
02-02-2007, 11:05 PM
The guy says he had 30 concusion and he never told anyone and blames the whole problem on the 29th and 30th concussion he received.

I think people forget humfrey from the chargers and how many nfl players you see out their mental issues.The hardest thing is unlike a broken hand their is no way for anyone to know what is going on .Taligabue who was the last commisioner did not do 2 cents for ex player suffering mental problems.Ditka has put his SB ring on a auction and other players to help people with mental issues .Funny thing is he asked NFL for 100k for his research and was promptly refused.

I hope this turns the point around but i do not think so as one of the problems i hear is after living 15 yrs of life with so much structure meeting and a team environment to be suddenly have nothing do drives alot of players crazy after retirement.

We are crying for faster surfaces and harder hits what do you think is going to happen?.. playing in grass and in open stadium slowed the game down but not now.

Dors156
02-03-2007, 12:31 AM
Something tells me Belichick could care less. He's a classless coach and person.
yea especially since i heard his postgame interview with Wilcots:shakeno:

patriotspride
02-03-2007, 07:12 AM
Something tells me Belichick could care less. He's a classless coach and person.the head coach in the nfl doesn't have the authority to force anyone to play .the only one who can give clearance for a player to return to action is the trainer .in the end its the players responsibility to make the choice whether or not to play

kwh924
02-03-2007, 04:28 PM
it bothers me how the people on ESPN are going so far out of there way to not lay any blame on Belicheck

VanDolPhan
02-03-2007, 04:46 PM
it bothers me how the people on ESPN are going so far out of there way to not lay any blame on Belicheck

I agree. The guys trying to cash in. Just a month ago he was trying to get resigned by the Patriots. Now he's got 'issues'.

Sorry but even if true your credibility gets shot to hell when you do that.

Roman529
02-03-2007, 05:25 PM
Ted Johnson was one of my favorite players in college, at my alma mater (The University of Colorado). I know nobody can force a guy to play if he says he cannot go, but when you worry your coach could cut you and replace you with someone else you go out there and play. Unfortunately Johnson will probably be permanently disabled which is sad for a guy in his
mid-30's. :shakeno: