Doctors weigh in on Steelers QB Roethlisberger's absence
Count a former Steelers team physician and one of the country's top neurosurgeons as not being surprised that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger developed some delayed symptoms from a concussion he sustained last week.
Dr. Julian E. Bailes said Monday it is not unusual for a person to develop symptoms for a concussion days after the injury occurred. Bailes is a professor and chairman of the West Virginia University School of Medicine who recently testified before a House Judiciary Committee on the protection and care for traumatic brain injuries in football.
"They can develop symptoms later — particularly headaches, memory problems, other issues — so delayed or later development of symptoms is not unusual as apparently what happened to Ben Roethlisberger this past weekend," said Bailes, the Steelers' neurosurgeon throughout the 1990s.
Roethlisberger incurred exercise-induced headaches during the days leading up to Sunday night's game against Baltimore. Team neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon would not clear Roethlisberger to play, and the team decided Saturday to sit their franchise quarterback for the key AFC North game despite Roethlisberger practicing the entire week. Maroon was not available for comment yesterday, and coach Mike Tomlin likely will update Roethlisberger's condition today at his weekly news conference.
Bailes has studied the effects of football concussions since 2000 when he set up the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He recently was asked to serve on the new committee formed by the NFL Players Association to study the long-term effects of head injuries in football. He said Roethlisberger's symptoms can last longer than just one week.
"Absolutely they can," Bailes said.
Tomlin said after Sunday's overtime loss to Baltimore that he doesn't expect Roethlisberger's symptoms to linger past this week.
"Not at this point, but we'll proceed appropriately," Tomlin said.
Teams have become more cautious when dealing with concussions.
This year, Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook and Washington running back Clinton Portis have been sidelined multiple weeks because of concussion-like symptoms. This past weekend, Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner was a last-second scratch because of a concussion he suffered the previous week.
"They're medical decisions and they're very important," said former NFL coach and current NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci. "It's not a swollen ankle and it's not about how important the game is. It's about the health and well-being of an athlete."
Former Steelers safety Mike Logan said he sustained two concussions during his 10-year NFL career and always took extreme precautions.
"I really didn't have any lingering effects, but I knew I wasn't right," Logan said. "When it comes to dealing with the brain, you better take it seriously."
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.
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Blake gets outside shot in nickel
- NFL notebook: Broncos left tackle Clady tears ACL, likely out for season
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison open for larger role
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- Steelers’ Brown: Attendance ‘never a doubt’ for offseason workouts
- Tomlin gives suggestion Steelers won’t be shy about going for 2
- Steelers sign 2 more draft picks