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In the past week the media has covered Ben Roethlisberger’s head injury and subsequent decision to first play in last Sunday’s game and then opt-out at the last minute when the doctors wouldn’t clear him. This was probably a good decision, since this is Roethlisberger’s fourth concussion. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger received flack from an unlikely source: his teammate, Hines Ward, suggested that Ben could’ve lied to team doctors for the good of the team. His reasoning was that he had lied to team doctors before when he wasn’t feeling perfectly healthy, so why couldn’t Ben? This is scary news in light of the mounting scientific evidence that repeated concussions can lead to severe brain damage and long-term neurological disorders.

Now the NFL might want to think twice about allowing this type of criticism of players who don’t play because they are seriously injured. In a lawsuit against La Salle University, the family of Preston Plevretes settled for $7.5 million with the school after Preston suffered a severe brain injury in 2005 after an earlier concussion went untreated. Preston will require care for the rest of his life.

Preston was a 19-year-old sophomore at the time of the incident. He was apparently injured during a 2005 game when he was hit while covering a punt against Duquesene University in Pittsburgh. He was immediately knocked unconscious and took three to five minutes to awaken. He then became extremely combative and lapsed into a coma. He later had surgery to relieve brain swelling, but returned to practice on October 4, where he sustained more helmet-to-helmet impact. Furthermore, he played in the next game but opted-out in the fourth quarter after complaining of a headache. Despite the settlement amount, La Salle University claims no responsibility in the accident.

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