Skip to main content

Calgary Stampeders' quarterback Drew Tate (L) rolls away from Saskatchewan Roughriders' Tearrius George during the second half of their West Division semi-final CFL football game in Calgary, Alberta, November 11, 2012.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS

The CFL and the Calgary Stampeders insist quarterback Drew Tate was not waylaid by a concussion last Sunday during a playoff victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

But an international expert says the player's own words – even after they were revised Monday – are a major red flag that indicates brain injury.

"To pretend he didn't have a concussion is ridiculous," said Chris Nowinski, co-director of Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, which studies the long-term effects of concussions. "It sets a terrible example for kids across Canada."

Story continues below advertisement

Tate, early in the second quarter, was drilled by defensive tackle Tearrius George, in a helmet-to-helmet collision. (George's hit is being investigated by the league for potential additional discipline.)

At halftime, and after the game, Tate said he could not remember the first half of play, given he had his "bell rung."

On Monday afternoon, the football team issued a written statement that quoted the 28-year-old quarterback, saying he had in fact only been "dinged" and felt "some fuzziness."

"As far as talk about a concussion, I didn't get what the fuss was because I felt fine and just wanted to play," Tate said in the statement.

But Nowinski, whose work has helped lead the push to recognize the breadth of the long-ignored issue of concussions, pointed to Tate's own words, whether "bell rung" or even "dinged."

Nowinski said the "gold standard" of concussion diagnosis is a direct report from the player.

"It doesn't matter if he passed the sideline test," he said in an interview Monday. "To put 'dinged' in the statement, you can be certain he had a concussion."

Story continues below advertisement

The Stampeders said they administered the "full range" of concussion tests, during the game, afterward, and on Monday morning. "Tate passed all of these," the team said.

The CFL, which contacted the Stampeders on Sunday and Monday, was satisfied.

"The bottom line is: Drew has been symptom-free each of the three times he was tested," league spokesman Jamie Dykstra said.

The Stamps plan to test Tate once more, likely on Tuesday. The team doesn't practice again until Wednesday, in Calgary, to prepare for the West Division final on Sunday in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions.

Among the Stampeders coaches, offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson knows concussions better than most. He played quarterback in Calgary and B.C., as well as the NFL, in a career that was marked by concussions.

"I do believe I can tell when I look into someone's eyes if they are concussed or not," Dickenson told the Calgary Sun last Sunday. "I didn't see any symptoms, and I know him pretty good."

Story continues below advertisement

The Tate controversy came on a weekend when three NFL quarterbacks went down with concussions, including Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers.

The Tate situation also recalls the recent episode of Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who recently said he played through a concussion in an NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings, and now has nerve damage as a result.

The Detroit Lions thereafter put out a statement – much like the Stampeders did – that said Johnson "did not suffer a concussion at any time this season."

The team also quoted Johnson as saying: "I would like to clarify some of my comments. … I am aware that I did not suffer a concussion in our game against the Vikings earlier this year. I misused the terms 'nerve damage' and 'concussion.'"

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter