Rainey 'OK' after concussion tests
Chris Rainey repeatedly shook his head in an effort to clear the cobwebs after getting KO'd by Indianapolis cornerback Jerraud Powers in the first quarter of the Steelers' 26-24 preseason victory Sunday night.
The rookie running back grudgingly relented to tests after being diagnosed with concussion symptoms by team medical personnel. After struggling to make it to the locker room, the fifth-round pick returned late in the second quarter.
“I begged and I asked them to let me play,” Rainey said. “I passed all the concussion tests. I'm all good now. I'm back to normal.”
Rainey, though, appeared as close to normal as Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy at Heinz Field in December. McCoy took a blow to the head from linebacker James Harrison but returned to the lineup after backup Seneca Wallace took only one snap from center.
Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly criticized the Browns for their handling of McCoy, and McCoy's father chastised the Browns for exercising poor judgment. The ordeal prompted the NFL to re-evaluate procedures in dealing with concussions.
In what could be defined as the Colt McCoy Rule, a player who may have been concussed is taken immediately out of games, scrimmages and practices. Coaches and trainers are to keep players out until they are cleared by further testing.
NFL spokesmen could not be reached Monday to determine if the league is reviewing the Steelers' handling of Rainey.
The Steelers, according to coach Mike Tomlin, reinserted Rainey because, in the team physician's opinions, his symptoms weren't cause for alarm.
“I didn't examine (him),” Tomlin said. “I just go with the doctors. They said he was fine to come back, so we played him.”
Still, Rainey said he took a heavy enough shot that he was momentarily unconscious.
“I woke up, and I'm still here,” said Rainey, who rushed six times for 20 yards and returned kickoffs. “I thought he dove at my head, and I thought there was a penalty.”
Rainey may have been cleared to play, but he was hardly effective. He admitted he struggled to keep his feet under him.
“The hit was one of those ‘Welcome to the National Football League' hits,” Rainey said. “I kept slipping on cuts, and I dropped a couple of passes. I didn't like it. I'm taking all the opportunities I can, and sometimes you've got to deal with getting hit.”
Tomlin emphasized that after the game.
“Everybody needs to feel the urgency of now in this business,” he said. “Particularly in a training camp-type setting, you work with a lot of young people, and there are a lot of guys who don't understand that.”
In an effort to reduce concussions, Goodell sent teams a memo stating a player who suffers a concussion should not return to action on the same day if he shows certain symptoms –- including an inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory, persistent dizziness and persistent headaches.
Rainey insisted afterward that he was fine and had no problem remembering plays.
While Rainey continued to play, the Colts sidelined receiver Austin Collie after he was diagnosed with concussion symptoms. The Colts were cautious with Collie, in part, because he missed much of last season with a head injury.
It was confirmed Monday that Collie did, in fact, sustain a concussion.
In 2007, NFL rules stated a player should not be allowed to return to the same game if he lost consciousness. Under those guidelines, Rainey would have been benched and forced to have further tests before returning to practice Tuesday as the Steelers prepare to play at Buffalo on Saturday.
Ralph N. Paulk is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7923
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.