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Saturday, January 26, 2008

The team doctor cleared him to play: Laveranues Coles' concussion treatment

New York Jets football player Laveranues Coles had sustained a concussion on Oct. 28 in a loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Jets coaches held him out for one game, and he presumably passed the neuropsychological tests that the league made mandatory this year. Apparently the team doctors cleared him to play, and he returned to the football field for several games.

While discussing his reputation for playing hurt, he said, "Sometimes I may need somebody to step in there at certain times and say, 'Laveranues, I think you need to do what's best for you.' But it is what it is."

Pete Kendall, a former Jets lineman now with the Washington Redskins, said he was "concerned for Laveranues. He seemed more subdued [when playing later that season] than normal." Lethargy is a common sign of an unhealed concussion.

Pete questioned whether critical decisions should be made by team-employed doctors, saying "I see guys playing in games that I don't think a personal advocate would allow them to do. The doctor who is supposed to be looking out for you is also the same guy who may put you into a game that the team has to win. You're mixing business with medicine."

Advice to the parents of injured athletes: Get a second opinion to verify the team doctor's opinion of your athlete's readiness to play.

Browse for similar stories in our index at the very bottom of this page, or read a athlete’s story.

Thanks to Alan Schwarz for the source story in the Dec. 22 issue of the New York Times.

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