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NFL Spine Injury Roundup: Week 8

There were several concussions again this week, and while the NFL does have concussion protocols in place, some of these injuries indicate that the system isn’t perfect. This week, the San Diego Chargers felt the impact of concussions more than any other team, with three players currently out with concussions.


Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson (Cornerback) – Peterson had to leave the field during the second quarter of Sunday’s game to be evaluated for a concussion. It was confirmed that Peterson did have a concussion, and he did not return for the remainder of the game.

Carolina Panthers – Philly Brown (Wide Receiver) – Brown suffered a concussion during Week 7. He did not pass concussion protocol this week, and was therefore unable to play in the Week 8 game.

Cleveland Browns – Jordan Cameron (Tight End) – Although the Browns won, Cameron had to leave Sunday’s game with a concussion. This is a particular concern, as Cameron has a history of concussions. Although it is still early on, it’s questionable as to whether Cameron will be able to play in the Week 9 game.

Denver Broncos – Omar Bolden (Cornerback) – The Broncos played in the Thursday night game this week. Bolden suffered a concussion during the previous week, and did not have enough time to pass concussion protocol, so he had to sit out.

Detroit Lions – LaAdrian Waddle (Tackle) – Waddle actually sustained a concussion at the end of the Week 7 game, but continued to play and did not alert medical staff of the hard hit until the game was over. This particular injury brings to light the fact that players also need to look out for their own safety by alerting medical staff of hard hits. Waddle did not play this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Luke Joeckel (Left Tackle) – Joeckel sustained a concussion during the first quarter of Sunday’s game and did not return.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Marcus Gilbert (Offensive Lineman) – Gilbert suffered a concussion during Week 7 and had to sit out of this week’s game.

San Diego Chargers – Jahleel Addae (Defensive Back) – The Chargers played in the Thursday night game this week, and while Addae received a blow to the head during the game, he was not diagnosed with a concussion until the following day. Although the team claims he underwent concussion protocol, the NFLPA is evaluating the situation to determine how Addae was allowed back on the field. Addae suffered two hits to the head and neck during the game and was diagnosed with a stinger, as well.

San Diego Chargers – Donald Brown (Running Back) – Brown, who was diagnosed with a concussion during Week 5, has been unable to return as of yet, and missed the Week 8 game as well.

San Diego Chargers – Brandon Flowers (Cornerback) – Flowers missed the Chargers’ Thursday night game after sustaining a concussion in the Week 7 game. With Flowers, Donald Brown, and Jahleel Addae, that makes three Chargers players who are out with concussions this week.

Seattle Seahawks – Bryan Walters (Wide Receiver) – Walters got a concussion during the team’s practice Wednesday, and subsequently had to miss the Week 8 game.

Returning from Concussions

Minnesota Vikings – John Sullivan (Center) – After sustaining a concussion last week, the fifth one of his career, Sullivan passed concussion protocol. He was able to join his team in Sunday’s victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New England Patriots – Dan Connolly (Guard) – Connolly was able to return after missing last week’s game due to a concussion. With his teammate Bryan Stork also returning from a concussion (see below), the Patriots’ offensive line got a boost, and they emerged with a 51-23 victory against the Chicago Bears.

New England Patriots – Bryan Stork (Center) – Like his teammate Dan Connolly, Stark was also able to return from his concussion and participate in the team’s win on Sunday.

New Orleans Saints – Brodrick Bunkley (Nose Tackle) – Bunkley was able to return this week for the Saints’ winning game against the Green Bay Packers.

Back Injuries

Buffalo Bills – Robert Woods (Wide Receiver) – Woods left during the second quarter of the  Bills’ Week 8 game due to a back contusion, but had been very involved in the game prior to the injury. He got 3 catches for a gain of 50 yards and a touchdown before he had to leave the field.

Chicago Bears – Jon Bostic (Linebacker) – Bostic was out once again after a Week 5 back injury.

Returning from Back Injuries

Minnesota Vikings – Corey Wootton (Defensive End) – Wootton was able to return from last week’s back injury. He played 24 snaps, the most since he played in the opening game of the season. The Vikings went on to win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Neck Injuries

Cleveland Browns – K’Waun Williams (Cornerback) – Williams did return for the Week 8 game after a concussion, but suffered from a neck stinger during the game and was unable to return for the remainder of the game.

Returning from Neck Injuries

Cincinnati Bengals – Vontaze Burfict (Linebacker) – Burfict was able to return this week after a neck injury. However, with Burfict’s history of neck injuries and concussions, it has been reported that the Bengals are trying to stress the importance of safer tackling to keep Burfict in the game longer.

Buffalo Bills – Aaron Williams (Safety) – Williams left the Week 7 game due to a neck injury, but was able to return for Sunday’s game.

For updates on concussions, neck, and back injuries in the NFL, follow me on Twitter @GleiberMD.