James Harrison admits he's had 'double-digit' concussions, improved helmet helping

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

James Harrison said he's dealt with "double-digit" concussions during the course of his football career, but that a new helmet he started using last year has helped protect his head.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison admits he's had "double-digit" bouts with concussion-like symptoms during the course of his career, but that extra padding put in his helmet last season is helping. Harrison installed the additional CRT padding in his helmet last year, and he says he has not "seen any spots or had any blackouts" while playing with the new and improved gear.

The veteran linebacker is the first NFL player to use the extra padding, with some players hesitant to add weight to their helmet that could have the effect of slowing them down. But Harrison says he would add as much as a "pound more" to in order to protect himself from concussions and head trauma.

Harrison is often cited as the poster boy for league initiatives to improve player safety, as he's been fined repeatedly for big hits he's delivered in recent seasons. But while he thinks the league is improving player safety, he says they have not done enough to address the equipment side of the equation (via the AP)

"I don't know how many people's career has been ended on a thigh or knee bruise. We have guys now that are 30, 31 years old that are having to quit the game because they have severe headaches ... I think you should be focusing more on (the helmet) than knee or thigh pads.''

Harrison, ironically, is still working his way back from a knee injury that kept him out for most of the first month of the season. Regardless of the knee issue, it's still troubling to hear him talk about the number of times he's experienced concussion-like symptoms.

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