, Newburyport, MA


January 29, 2014

Welker, Harvin and the pain of football


Either of them could be a game breaker in the Super Bowl. Neither is too worried about the possibility of taking more hits to the head.

“I took the steps and followed the protocol and everything worked out for the best,” Harvin said. “I’m glad.”

Harvin said Seattle coach Pete Carroll came to him after the NFC title win over the San Francisco 49ers and asked if he was ready to play in the Super Bowl. Harvin didn’t take long to give Carroll the answer he wanted to hear.

“I feel great. I’m feeling fine. I feel normal,” he said. “I have been practicing well. I’m just happy to be here.”

Welker and Harvin, of course, are hardly the first players to return to the field after getting hit in the head. But the fact they share a history of recent concussions and could both play pivotal roles in the game highlight the dilemma both the players and the league face when it comes to concussions.

While the NFL has put stricter protocols in place for concussion related injuries in recent years — and acknowledged the seriousness of the issue in a $765 million proposed settlement with former players — there is still no real way of determining the risks of any individual player in future years when it comes to blows to the head.

Even if there was, the chance to play in a Super Bowl might outweigh all. Welker intimated as much when asked if he would play in the game even with a concussion.

“What do you think?” he asked. “I mean, you want to be out there. The Super Bowl, this is what you dream about. You’re going to be there, I don’t care what it takes, you’re going to be out there in this game.”

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