Doctor weighs in on Cutler’s third concussion - Fox 2 News Headlines

Doctor weighs in on Cutler’s third concussion

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler left Chicago's game against the Houston Texans because of a concussion Sunday. Cutler was hit in the head by Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins after making a pass in the second quarter.

SEE: Bears' Cutler, McClellin leave with concussions

Lovie Smith says Cutler is "getting better" but he still has to undergo a series of tests to determine if he can play in the game against the 49ers next Monday.

"We'll never put a guy at risk. No game is that important for us. Of course, the player's health always comes first in everything that we do," Lovie said.

SEE: Smith: Bears handled Cutler concussion properly

Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth is the Bears concussion specialist. She is not allowed to talk about any specific player, but she and the team's physician give the clearance for a player to return to play.

Cutler returned to the game for seven plays after this hard hit because the Bears say he did not show any symptoms at the time. Dr. Pieroth says symptoms can be slow to develop.

This was Cutler's third concussion since coming into the NFL, and although a concussion can be a career ender, Dr. Pieroth says it all depends on the player.

"Everyone wants to have it sorta simplified, and say there is a certain number that's too many, and unfortunately we just don't have that information. The research is not there," Dr. Pieroth says.

Sunday's NFL games saw three starting quarterbacks leave with a concussion: Chicago's Jay Cutler, San Francisco's Alex Smith and Philadelphia's Michael Vick.

Recently, more than 3,000 former football players have sued the NFL, accusing the league of failing to inform them of the dangers they faced to protect them against concussions in the past.

Dr. Pieroth says a helmet helps, but does not prevent a concussion.

"Until you can figure out a way to get our brain to stop moving in our skulls from impact, you're not going to prevent a concussion," Dr. Pieroth says.

Dr. Pieroth also says concussion symptoms can be delayed. After that head-rattling hit at Soldier Field on Sunday, Jay Cutler returned to the game for seven plays. He was then evaluated during half-time and it was determined he would sit out the game. Monday, the NFL determined that the team did follow concussion protocol.

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