Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Chiefs' Smith Not Concussed According to Team Athletic Trainer

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Chiefs' Smith Not Concussed According to Team Athletic Trainer

Article excerpt

One day after the Kansas City Chiefs reported quarterback Alex Smith exited the game against Indianapolis with a concussion, the team reversed course, stating Smith passed the league's protocol tests and showed no symptoms of a concussion.

"We don't think that either episode he had a concussion," said Rick Burkholder, the team's head athletic trainer.

Smith left the 30-14 win over the Colts twice after absorbing contact to the helmet. Following the first incident on the team's first drive, the quarterback appeared to stagger while arising from the turf. Smith returned to the game and took another shot to the helmet in the third quarter, remaining on the ground while trainers assessed his condition.

The confusion arose during Smith's second concussion protocol examination, according to Burkholder. The team's medical staff determined Smith would not return to following the second injury while they completed the NFL's concussion protocol.

Burkholder then told the team's public relations staff that Smith was out of the game with a concussion, even though he had not yet completed the mandated testing. Smith later passed the league's concussion protocol a second time.

Coach Andy Reid correctly told reporters after the game Smith passed the protocol both times, but a team spokesperson mistakenly indicated Smith failed the protocol the second time.

"I know it caused a lot of confusion, and I'm sorry about that," Burkholder said.

The team continued monitor Smith after the game and through Monday morning, and Burkholder said the quarterback showed no signs of a concussion.

"He is absolutely asymptomatic," Burkholder said.

He added that Smith could return to practice this week and play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, if he is cleared by an independent neurologist.

"We will go through the return to play protocol and see where he is at," Burkholder said.

The team, however, has not yet definitely found a cause for Smith's apparent lack of balance after the first hit and his remaining on the ground following the second collision. Smith did sustain a laceration on his ear and a hematoma, or fluid build up, behind both ears. …

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