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Calvin Johnson Admits He Hid Concussions From The Lions

By: Evan Jankens

In October of 2012, Calvin Johnson told 97.1 The Ticket that he had suffered a concussion against Chad Greenway and the Minnesota Vikings... and then just kept on playing.

He just said it again, this time to the Detroit Free Press. And on the heels of Gisele Bundchen's revelations about her husband Tom Brady playing through head injuries, the world seems to be paying attention.

Johnson doubled down this past weekend in an interview with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

"Guys get concussions, they don't tell the coaches," Johnson said after his "Catching Dreams" football camp Saturday at Southfield High. "It happens. I don't tell the coach sometimes cause I know I got a job to do. The team needs me out there on the field. And sometimes you allow that to jeopardize yourself, but that's just the nature of the world."

"They're going to dispute that, but anytime you black out, anytime you hit the ground and everything is stars and stuff, any time your brain hits your skull, that's a concussion," Johnson said. "No matter how severe it is, it's a concussion. Now granted, some people get nausea. That's a severe concussion when you get hit like that and you get nausea and stuff like that. But if you play football long enough (you're going to have concussions)."

Just last week, Tom Brady's wife Gisele said, ""Football, like he had a concussion last year, I mean he has concussions pretty much every [year] …I mean, we don't talk about. But he does have concussions."

Johnson first went public with the issue of his own head injuries in 2012 when he told 97.1 The Ticket.

"He rung my bell pretty good, he got me, he caught me around the chin, that was a good hit," Johnson said. "It's a part of football, you get concussed, you gotta keep on playing. You can't get afraid to go across the middle any more than you were at the beginning."

Jim Schwartz, head coach of the Detroit Lions at the time, said he didn't believe that Johnson had suffered a concussion.

"Our evaluation was he was not concussed, he was thoroughly checked, we are very strong in our evaluation. He was cleared to go back in the game … We are very strong in our evaluation. We are, we as an organization, we have some credibility when it comes to concussions, so just leave it at that."

At the time of his retirement, Terry Foster wrote that concussions was one of the reason that Johnson decided to hang up his cleats.

The issue of concussions plays a role. Johnson probably has had a concussion or two and does not want to go through it again.


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