Many are aware that Marvin Lewis serves as the head football coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, but what may come as a surprise to some is that he also holds a medical degree.
During a recent NFL press conference, Lewis shared his medical insights on concussions, which proved to be astonishingly uninformed.
In addressing his star linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, Dr. Lewis commented, “I coached defenses and linebackers for a long time, and concussions didn’t linger. Now, we have found that because of the media and things, they seem to linger longer. There’s a lot of attention paid to it. I don’t know why they linger longer. I don’t remember them lingering like they do now.”
Perhaps it’s worth considering that the landscape of football and medical knowledge has evolved since 1977 when Coach Lewis began his career.
Back then, Barbara Streisand was at the height of her popularity, and fashion trends like double-knit slacks and leather-fringed coats commanded respect.
It’s safe to say that significant medical advancements have occurred since that time.
It’s possible that your football career coincided with the popularity of Barbara Streisand and the fashion trends of 1977, where double-knit slacks and a stylish leather-fringed coat commanded respect.
Since then, there have been significant advances in medicine.
It’s genuinely perplexing for an NFL head coach to make such a misguided statement.
Perhaps I underestimated the breadth of expertise with a master’s degree in athletic administration.
It seems I need to return to Idaho State for a refresher in intelligence.
Clearly, Marvin Lewis is not a medical doctor, but the point is well taken.
There exists a substantial body of evidence indicating the known consequences following a concussion.
This is precisely why a new safety protocol has been implemented.
We understand the immediate effects and are now delving into the more profound, long-term repercussions.
Unfortunately, it seems that the tragic cases of former players suffering from dementia, memory loss, depression, and even taking their own lives haven’t resonated with Dr. Lewis.
Let me be clear: Marvin Lewis is a highly accomplished coach. He’s achieved remarkable success wherever he’s been.
However, it’s essential to recognize that he doesn’t hold a medical degree.
I understand the frustration a coach may feel regarding injuries, but merely sitting in on an injury report update doesn’t grant expertise in fixing them.
It’s best to refocus on the game plan and allow the experts to do their jobs.
As a former player, I was well aware of the risks associated with playing football, and I accepted them willingly.
I wouldn’t alter a thing about my career, except for wishing I possessed the knowledge I have now back then.
The advancements in our understanding of the human body have been substantial.
Coaches and players are doing themselves a disservice by not acknowledging what we’ve learned.
As athletes, we often fall into the ‘tough it out’ mentality, pushing through pain and adversity.
There’s undoubtedly a place for that in sports—it propels you to the highest level.
However, there’s a delicate balance between being injured and being hurt.
Coaches have sometimes overstepped, challenging a player’s toughness for short-term gains.
We should have a better grasp of this by now.
Regarding the intricate matter of the brain, I prefer to rely on sound medical advice rather than a coach’s opinion on the injury report.
If the NFL is genuinely committed to the game’s safety, coaches should better comprehend the gravity of head injuries and defer to the medical staff while refraining from giving their input. They are not doctors.
To put it simply: Coaches should coach. Players should play. Doctors should doctor.