Despite the raised awareness of the dangers that concussions and head trauma present to NFL players, Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain was permitted to remain in his team's Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins after suffering a head injury, as first reported by Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune.
McClain was diagnosed with a concussion after the game but never missed a snap.
Not only did a recent study by the American Academy of Neurology find that a football player's causes of death was nearly four times likelier to be ALS or Alzheimer's than the general population but players who were in "speed" positions, such as middle linebacker, were even likelier to face such a condition.
Per the Tribune, McClain most likely (he wasn't sure when it happened) suffered the injury in the second half -- when Dolphins running back Reggie Bush mauled the Raiders' defense.
According to Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times and various reports, the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft was back practicing on Thursday. As of Friday, he was listed as questionable on the team's injury report, per SF Gate.
Before the 2011 season, the NFL set up new guidelines for dealing with concussions during and after games. Some include being told three numbers (like 6-2-9) and having to repeat them in reverse order and being asked basic questions like, "Who did we play last game?"
During the 2011 season, the officials were asked to keep an eye on players who may be displaying symptoms of head trauma. This move came after San Diego Chargers guard Kris Dielman suffered a concussion during a road game against then New York Jets then a seizure on the flight home.
Is it possible that the replacement officials missed something in McClain's behavior that the veteran officiating crew would have noticed?
"There was a time where I thought, 'I don't feel like myself,'" McClain later admitted to McDonald.
With several lawsuits filed by former players linking concussions to brain injuries and concerns that the replacement referees officiating games now are a danger to the players' health, anyone playing with a concussion could be the last thing commissioner Roger Goodell needs.
That is, if he really cares about player safety.