Yes, I know it is the Eastern Conference Finals. Yes, I know the Celtics have a chance to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals in front of their fans. Saying that, Glen Davis should not play in Game 6. In high school, I suffered a concussion playing pick-up basketball. After getting hit I finished the game, but battled fatigue and lack of concentration throughout. I stopped playing basketball for a few weeks after the concussion, and seeing Davis attempt to pick himself up last night was downright scary.
Concussions are a hot topic in sports these days, especially in the NFL where the league is constantly updating its policies to ensure that players don’t suffer long-term brain damage for the sake of winning a game. The NFL also recently sent a letter to the governors of all 50 states requesting that they adopt more stringent concussion laws for youth athletics. This increased attention to concussions has yet to really translate to the NBA, but Davis needs to shut himself down for at least a game.
“People who have had a concussion not fully healed are 4-6 times more likely to receive another concussion, says Dr. Jill Brooks, Clinical Neuropsychologist at Head2Head Consultants in Peapack, N.J. “And the recovery time overall will be much longer because of the second concussion.”
The other night, Davis looked completely dazed trying to stand up and while sitting on the bench, and his ability to focus normally is not always the best as Doc Rivers pointed out. Playing Davis would provide the team with a liability as he will probably face many of the symptoms that those with concussions normally do: fatigue, lack of energy, and inability to focus. In Game 6, fundamentals and attention to detail are of the utmost importance, and with his concussion, Davis’ ability to execute would be hampered.
“Players who have concussions not fully healed face a variety of symptoms that can severely impact their ability to perform on the court or playing field,” adds Dr. Brooks, who specializes in concussions and related sports injuries. “Some of these symptoms include delayed reaction time, headaches, dizziness, balance problems and both mental and physical fatigue. All such symptoms can cause the athlete to perform at a much lower level than they would if healthy.”
While Davis would not be able to impact the game the way he would like dealing with the concussion, it is most important for him not to play tonight for his long-term health. Davis looked so out of sync Wednesday night that it is impossible to believe he will be fully recovered in time for the game. Also, Davis need look no further than his teammate Brian Scalabrine to see that playing with a concussion before the injury is fully healed can only do harm. Scalabrine suffered two concussions in a January game last year against the Mavs, returned to play too soon, and suffered another concussion in February which caused him to miss a month during the season. The risk for reinjury is great when a concussion hasn’t healed properly, and for the Celtics and Davis, having him sit out Game 6 is the best basketball and medical move for both parties.
What do you think?
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