Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/15/11
TEMPE, Ariz. Cardinals head trainer Tom Reed took one look at quarterback Kevin Kolb last Sunday and realized something wasnt right. Hundreds of fans -- swayed by Kolbs 60 million contract extension and his less than perfect attendance record -- came to the same conclusion sort of. The tweets came fast furious. Kolb is injury prone. Kolb is soft. Kolb is an (unprintable word). Somewhere, Beanie Wells is rolling his eyes and clenching his teeth. Kolb suffered a concussion on the Cardinals first offensive series against the 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium when he took a knee to the back of the head. With all that we have learned over the past few years regarding head trauma and its long-term effects, how is it that fans have the gall to question Kolbs toughness? As the New York Times recently reported, more than 20 dead former NFL players and many boxers have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy diagnosed, including former Bears Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson, who committed suicide this year. The same was true of deceased NHL enforcers Derek Boogaard and Bob Probert. The Cleveland Browns are under scrutiny for missing concussion-like symptoms displayed by quarterback Colt McCoy last week, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is back on the shelf with recurring symptoms, and yet there's an outcry among some in the Cardinals fan base want to see Kolb back on the Coliseum floor ASAP to perform for them with no regard for his own health. Questioning fans opinions is a slippery slope. Thats a no-win situation. They can say whatever they want to say, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. But we have medical experts on our staff who spent a lot of years in schools and are trained to diagnose that stuff. Im pretty sure they know what theyre doing. Kolb was back on the field at Wednesday's practice in a limited role. He said the symptoms he was experiencing Sunday were down. It's just a matter of making sure they're down long enough where I can get out there at full speed. I want to be out there as much as anybody but, it's something you don't push." The sad truth is, football players often push through such injuries because its the culture to do so, especially with an injury thats difficult to discern. Concussions are a weird deal, Kolb said. Its kind of foggy. Its a gray line. You dont really know. Thats why a lot of times players dont speak up. They dont really know. You get knocked around lot in the game. The NFL has made strides in recent years with better helmets, rules designed to prevent head shots and greater awareness of the issue as a whole, but Kolb admits there is still pressure to play so you dont let your team down. Thats the battle that we face as players, he said. You try to do whats best for yourself and for your team in that situation. Sometimes its a tough decision. Its been a frustrating year for Kolb. He got off to a rocky start, then missed four games with turf toe and foot injuries before returning in a thrilling win over Dallas. Now hes sidelined again. Its beyond frustrating, he said. We played a good second half there against the Cowboys and had a good week at practice. We were ready to go out there and do what we ended up doing (against San Francisco), which is great for our team. I wish I could have been a part of it. With all that hes dealt with, and all that he still must overcome, the last thing Kolb needs is pressure from uninformed critics. The concern here should not be for Kevin Kolb the football player. The concern here must be for Kevin Kolb the human being.
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