“We were talking about this impact concussion test, I remember it came out in ’05 or ’06, right when I was retiring basically, and it was kind of a joke. Nobody really took it seriously. We just kind of complained about having to do it – faked our way through it.”

-Jeff Hartings, former center, Pittsburgh Steelers

Center says he faked his impact concussion test

Jeff Hartings spent eleven years in the National Football League. YouWager’s dedicated NFL football wagering fans should remember the name. Hartings played college football for Penn State, earning All-American honors. A first-round pick for the Detroit Lions, in the 1996 NFL Draft, Hartings would eventually play for both the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named All-Pro and was on Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl-winning team in 2005.

To set the record straight, Hartings says most players were fairly ignorant about concussion injuries back then. He told a YouWager news source that during most of his career, the idea that a concussion was even a serious injury, with horrible long-term problems, was a new concept for most of his fellow players. Hartings said, in those days, most players did not take such tests seriously, so they found ways around them, to keep playing. Continuous play seemed to be a bigger issue for most of his teammates.

Now that Hartings is older, and the father of seven children, he coaches football, and says he has a much better understanding of the way that concussions can affect players on the field. Hartings attended a conference recently, on improving football safety called the ‘Heads Up Football’ symposium, in Canton, Ohio, to talk about his experiences. He told YouWager’s source, “I think the publicity has helped the NFL and helped everyone come around and start teaching us about the significant impact a concussion can have on you long-term and short-term.”

Hartings said he was able to speak with other former players about the way that the players finally realized the importance of concussion tests in the NFL. He told YouWager’s source that because he coaches now, he sees it. Hartings said last year, he saw six or seven kids on his team suffer concussions. Hartings said one kid had to spend a week in the hospital because of his injury. This experience, Hartings says, really brought the issue home.

Hartings told YouWager’s source, “The other thing that I learned this week and through that experience is you have to take concussions seriously. It’s a part of the game. I don’t want to make a comparison to a sprained ankle but when a player sprains his ankle you sit him out. When he injures his brain, you need to sit him out and you’ve got to take that even more seriously and make sure when they come back they’re fully ready to come back.”

Even with all of the dangers, Hartings still feels injuries can be minimized if they are dealt with properly. “If we handle these injuries the proper way, as a mother you have no reason to be concerned about your son playing football,” Hartings told YouWager’s source. “As a matter of fact, I believe that the rewards far outweigh the risks.”