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Head injury for Packers' Grant sets concussion rules in play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ryan Grant isn't against the NFL's recently toughened policy on concussions. The Green Bay Packers running back found himself wondering if he could've avoided the entire process had he gone down during Saturday's preseason opener instead of trying to walk off the field under his own power.

Grant left the Packers' 27-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns after three carries after Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown hit him in the left side of the helmet. Grant said Monday that he knew he wouldn't be able to stay in the game, so he made his way for the sideline right way.

The problem? He was woozy enough that he stumbled and had to stop about halfway to the bench, bringing out the medical staff.

"Maybe it would've been a little different if I'd have stayed on a knee and said, 'I just got the wind knocked out of me, let me take a couple plays off and come back,"' Grant said.

Instead, Grant was diagnosed with a concussion, setting into motion the NFL's safety rules, which include keeping players off the field until they show no symptoms of the concussion and having an independent neurologist instead of the team doctor clear them to return.

Grant, who rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, underwent a series of concussion tests Monday and passed them; he said he's scheduled to see the neurologist on Tuesday.

Earlier this summer, the NFL announced it would distribute posters for all teams to hang in their locker rooms all season that outline the dangers of concussions in stark terms. In addition to listing the symptoms of concussions, the poster warns that repeated concussions "can change your life and your family's life forever."

An NFL-sponsored study found that NFL retirees were reporting rates of Alzheimer's and other memory-related diseases at five times or more the national rate.

"I hope to have him back tomorrow," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Monday's practice, the team's first since their exhibition opener. "He has gone through the procedure and saw the doctor today. He'll see another one tomorrow, and I'm hopeful that he'll go tomorrow night."

Grant said he understands why the rules are in place and appreciates that the NFL is putting player safety first, but when asked if he likes the safety rules, his answer was lukewarm.

"I like parts of it. I think there are definitely parts of it that are good," Grant said. "(But) I think with the business of the game it might make some guys a little more leery of saying certain things or doing certain things, which is unfortunate.

"I think the whole concussion thing is serious, but it's a hard subject to gauge. With everybody really looking at it and how it can affect players and people in general, the gauge of what people consider a concussion is kind of a touchy subject. The nature of our business (is), guys get hit. Somebody says, "I've got a headache," is that necessarily a concussion? Or (they ask), 'How bad is your headache' (You say), 'Oh man, I'm kind of dizzy.' If you ask any football player if they've been dizzy at some point in time during the game, I'm sure they'd say absolutely. Does that mean every football player has had a concussion? I don't know. I don't think so.

"I've gotten hit in the head numerous (times) and popped up and been fine. Do I think this was to the point where (it was a concussion)? I probably should've stayed on a knee, just to get my wits together. But it's one of those things. I'm going to do everything I can working with them to get back, because I don't want to be out. But at the same time, I know it's severe and you've got to be smart about it."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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