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Columnist
Concussions create flurry of questions
By Mike Imrem | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 10/4/2010 8:38 PM

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NFL researchers are working hard to find answers to concussion questions.

Questions like, if you had been concussed Sunday would it have been easier or harder to comprehend what Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz was trying to accomplish?

Also, if you're concussed and somebody holds up three fingers and you can only count two of them, does that mean you played at an SEC school other than Vanderbilt?

Most important, if a wild Bear is concussed in the woods, does he still have to listen to Lovie Smith babble about football at Halas Hall?

"I know that; I was at the game, too," the Bears' coach snapped Monday when reminded that the Giants sacked Jay Cutler nine times.

(Ah, so Smith settled once and for all, or at least until next week, that it isn't a cardboard cutout of him on the sideline.)

Anyway, if Smith isn't going to provide insight on any given Bears game, he certainly isn't going to provide any on the sensitive subject of the concussion Cutler suffered.

"He's not bedridden or anything like that," was the most Smith would reveal.

I'm guessing that Bears fans don't want to read about brain bruises anyway. They prefer to think that a concussion is something connected to the crankshaft of their Buick.

Of course, they do hope Cutler is OK after being pounded by the Giants.

Why, do fans fear that Cutler will wind up drooling down his shirt on his next date with his reality-TV star girlfriend and then spend the rest of his life thinking he's in North Dakota when he's in South Carolina?

No, they mostly fear that Cutler's concussion will prevent him from playing against the Panthers on Sunday and they'll have to watch either Todd Collins or Caleb Hanie at quarterback.

"If Jay is healthy and ready to go," Smith said, "like all players he'll be anxious to get out there."

Sure Cutler will be. He's a football player, and football players play football whenever possible, which is why they have to be protected from themselves.

Maybe if Cutler's head is clear he'll wish he never left the protective custody of the Denver Broncos, who rarely allowed him to be sacked during the 2008 season.

Or maybe he should be careful what he wishes for, because former Bears/current Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton seems to be a concussion waiting to happen.

"Broncos need to take better care of Orton," a headline blared Monday morning on the Denver Post website.

Chicago, Denver, name any other NFL city - concussions are becoming an epidemic around the league.

Poking fun at Lovie Smith is a lot more fun than wondering who'll be the next quarterback or running back or linebacker to have his brains scrambled.

Which leads us to three more concussion questions that NFL researchers are trying to answer:

Like, shouldn't the league have a rule that if a player is concussed one week he can't play the next?

Also, come to think of it, why do safeguards against concussions have to be legislated instead of being natural if the NFL is so concerned about players?

Finally, would Ted Williams' family want his head frozen if they found out it had been concussed?

Sorry if that sounds like I'm laughing insensitively at a serious subject, but it's only to keep from crying.

mimrem@dailyherald.com