Former Pittsburgh Steelers center Jeff Hartings is now a high school football coach after playing 11 seasons in the NFL and on Wednesday, he admitted on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he and other players considered concussion tests being administered while he played as a joke.
“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, and nobody really took it seriously,” said Hartings while at the “Heads-Up Symposium” in Canton, Ohio. “We just kind of complained about having to do it and faked our way through it.”
Now that Hartings has seen some of his own players suffer concussions, he has a much different opinion on the testing being used and certainly sees the usefulness of it first hand.
“Thank God, six, seven years later, doctors, the commissioner of the NFL, coaches and everybody around – this media attention isn\’t necessarily a bad thing,” said Hartings. “I think the negativity is a bad thing, but I think the publicity has helped the NFL and helped everyone come around and start teaching us about the significant impact that a concussion can have on you long term, but also short term.”
Following his rookie season with the Detroit Lions, Hartings only missed 8 regular season games over the remaining 10 years of his career, and his comments certainly lead you to believe that he probably should have missed a few more because of concussions.
The NFL is continuing their quest to protect players from themselves as far as concussions go and that includes the new sideline medical records pilot program that will be used by eight teams in 2013.
You can hear the more of what Hartings had to say on the subject in the audio below.