This past week Hines Ward questioned the commitment and toughness of the quarterback who helped him earn two Super Bowl rings. Why? Because Ben Roethlisberger chose to follow the team’s medical personnel’s advice and sit out Sunday’s game because of a concussion. Here’s what Ward had to say about that decision:
“This game [Sunday’s against Baltimore] is almost like a playoff game,” Ward told NBC’s Bob Costas. “It’s almost a ‘must’ win. So, I can see some players or some teammates kind of questioning like, ‘Well, it’s just a concussion. I’ve played with concussions before. I would go out there and play.’ So, it’s almost like a 50-50 toss-up in the locker room … I’ve been out there dinged up. The following week, [I] got right back out there.”
This is stupid on a couple of different levels. Roethlisberger has played hurt many times in the past. Questioning his toughness shouldn’t even be consideration. The truth is admitting that you played with a concussion doesn’t make you look tough. It makes you look like an idiot.
What really bothers me is that the message that this sends to young players who look up to Ward. Thanks to his comments they are now more likely to put their health at risk and play when they shouldn’t. You can do serious permanent neurological damage if you decide to play through a concussion.
This is very disappointing. I used to like Hines Ward.