Here's an interesting thing I came across yesterday when listening to the Darren Smith Show on The Mighty 1090. Michael Gehlken, the San Diego Chargers beat reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, who is more tapped into what is going on with the team than anybody else, went on a bit of a rant about D.J. Fluker and the two concussions he suffered in just a matter of days.
Before we get to the rant, I want to re-highlight a part of Michael's article that he initially wrote on Fluker's concussions. I tweeted about it at the time.
In response to "The NFL cleared him to play!", Fluker's loved ones should've had a say... pic.twitter.com/n785AHx1KV
— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) November 25, 2015
That's interesting, right? D.J. Fluker's loved ones pleaded with the team to not play Fluker, despite him being cleared by an independent neurologist to play. The team ignored those pleas, and...
D.J. Fluker was the 12th concussion the Chargers have diagnosed this year, which is the most in the NFL. His came four days after a Wednesday practice, during which he was found to have suffered a concussion.
So, he suffered a concussion at Wednesday's practice and, as the NFL's concussion protocol currently stipulates, there is no minimum time a player must miss before returning to the field. That doesn't exist in the concussion protocol, as it is currently written.
Sunday morning, before the game against Kansas City, Fluker takes the test, he passes it, and an independent neurologist clears him to return to play. Hours later, he suffers another concussion and, as is common when you suffer concussions in short proximity to one another, the duration of your symptoms and the severity of your symptoms are going to be longer and more severe.
D.J. Fluker actually spent time in the Emergency Room over the weekend, because the symptoms from his second concussion were so severe. He was there for a matter of hours, and he was released, and I'm told he's feeling better.
I believe the team was aware of his situation, and if I were to guess....the sense that I've gotten is that they were pretty aware of it. I don't think D.J. up and went to the ER in the middle of the night without telling anybody. I'm sure he reached out to the proper authorities in the team.
There are protocols for this thing. Similar to Keenan Allen, when he was dealing with a lacerated kidney and flew back, he spoke to his girlfriend and ended up getting into the hospital. You work with the team, or you're supposed to work with the team, in those certain situations.
The Chargers were aware of it. They made sure to take care of.....all the testing D.J. needed, he got. The results of which were positive enough for him to be released hours later.
The bolded emphasis is mine, but the entire interview is worth listening to at least once.
I know I spoke on this topic before, even going so far as to say last week that the Chargers don't deserve your love and dedication, but this is a different angle.
Forgive me for attempting to read between the lines here, but it sure sounds like D.J. Fluker went to the Emergency Room instead of going to the Chargers' team doctors after they (possibly) put him back on the field in a state where he was more susceptible to receiving another concussion. Has he lost his trust in them? Have his loved ones? That would make sense, considering what happened a little over a week ago, when they pleaded for his health and safety, and their pleas fell on deaf ears.
And, maybe this is because it was a throwaway line by Michael, but it certainly sounds as if Keenan Allen went to the hospital on the recommendation of his girlfriend after being flown cross-country and sent home (after going out on the field with a lacerated kidney!) by the Chargers. Has he lost his trust in the team doctors? Has his girlfriend?
Does the San Diego Chargers medical staff believe in telling players that they're fine, and fit to play football, when they're not? Do they believe in putting the health of their players at risk in hopes of winning a football game?
It certainly appears that way from the outside (especially with some shocking evidence in the form of Jahleel Addae, Kris Dielman, Paul Oliver, etc.), and these hints that players are having to turn to other doctors after the failures of the team doctors make it sound like the players have reached a similar conclusion.