Lions lineman kept playing despite concussion
BAGSHOT, England (AP) Detroit Lions offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle kept playing after banging his head on the ground late in last week's victory over the New Orleans Saints, even though the team knew a concussion was possible.
Waddle was knocked down while blocking during an extra-point attempt after Corey Fuller had scored in the 24-23 comeback win over the Saints. He was then on the field at right tackle when quarterback Matthew Stafford took a knee to end the game on the next possession.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Thursday the team knew when the concussion happened, but then said the team's doctors weren't sure right away.
''We knew exactly when it occurred and what happened within the context of it,'' Caldwell said. ''It was the last play of the game for him. It was actually on a field goal, the PAT at the end. It's the last play of the game for him.''
But Caldwell later said Waddle was on the field for the final play when Stafford took a knee, even though protocol requires that players suspected of sustaining a head injury be removed.
''Well, in terms of they knew exactly what happened to him in terms of he banged his head on the ground after where he gets up,'' Caldwell said. ''It wasn't to the point where they thought he was concussed at that time. The final snap of the game, we knew it was only one snap, then the doctors reviewed him, took a look at him.
''It wasn't one of those situations where he felt he had to go in the locker room right away. But they did know he banged it when he came off, and that he was good.''
Waddle flew to England with the team and could play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium.
Concussions have become a major issue in football, and the NFL has said it expects nearly three in 10 former players, or 6,000 men, to develop debilitating brain conditions. The league's experts predicted they will be stricken earlier and at least twice as often as the general population.
The NFL has agreed to create a $675 million fund, and more if needed, to pay out claims for the next 65 years. Current players are not included in the litigation.