National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said it “mortified” her to watch two Golden State Warriors players suffer possible head injuries only to return later in the game and now the league’s union will take a closer look at the concussion protocol.
Warriors guard and NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry was injured when he got caught in the air on top of Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza on a play as Ariza went up for a shot during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
In the Game 5 clincher that sent to Warriors to the NBA Finals, guard Klay Thompson was kneed in the head by Ariza and also returned to the game, but after the contest, Thompson’s father said that his son threw up several times and was experiencing headaches.
Thompson was diagnosed with a concussion and practiced on Monday, but has not yet been cleared to play in Game 1 of the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Roberts says the union has hired neurologists to help take a closer look at the policy to see if any changes are needed to prevent players from playing with an undiagnosed head injury.
"That number is sufficient to make us all look at whether we want to risk a player's health for a game," Roberts said to the Associated Press. "To say it happens so rarely or doesn't happen frequently enough to change the rules is not enough. We're talking potentially about someone's life. I don't think we should play an odds game when comes to player's life."
Roberts says that if it is decided to hold out players longer so they can recover from concussions, she is fine with that even though the decision might not be popular.
"It's not for them to decide," Roberts said. "They're not doctors.”
All four major North American sports have concussion protocols which prevents players from returning until they have no symptoms and been cleared by medical personnel.
Thompson, who also needed stitches to stop bleeding from his ear after his concussion, is expected to play soon and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that the team is following the protocol to make sure Thompson is symptom-free.
"That's what they've been doing the last couple of days: Monitor him, send him back out, continue to monitor him, check on him afterwards," Kerr said. "He's doing fine."
- Scooby Axson