Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict suffered 7th career concussion Sunday, second this month

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict sustained his seventh diagnosed concussion in the NFL on Sunday in a game against the Cleveland Browns, his second such injury this month.

Burfict went down late in the first half of their 26-18 loss to the Browns on Sunday, and initially appeared to resist help from the training staff. An athletic trainer eventually walked with him to the sideline. Later on, an athletic trainer took his helmet away and they went to the locker room.

He was later ruled out at halftime.

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict suffered his seventh known concussion in the NFL on Sunday, his second in just three weeks. (Getty Images)
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict suffered his seventh known concussion in the NFL on Sunday, his second in just three weeks. (Getty Images)

“He just has to go through the protocol. Sometimes guys don’t want to hear that,” coach Marvin Lewis told ESPN on Sunday. “They say they’re fine, but they still have to go through the protocol. They settle down, and then they go do it.”

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Burfict suffered a concussion against the Broncos on Dec. 2, and missed the next two games.

The 28-year-old, who has been in the league with the Bengals since 2012, played his last full season in 2013. He suffered a concussion in the final game of the 2013 season, and then entered concussion protocol twice to start the season in 2014. He suffered another one late in the season in 2016, and then missed six games last season due to a concussion and a shoulder injury.

Burfict has 33 total tackles so far this season, and has played in seven games.

With Sunday’s concussion marking his seventh-known head injury in the NFL alone, Burfict’s career is likely in jeopardy. According to the Mayo clinic, someone is “three to four times more likely to sustain” a second concussion within the same season after suffering an initial one, and a second hit “may result in rapid brain swelling that’s often fatal.” Athletes who suffer multiple concussions are also at a higher risk of developing memory and cognitive issues later in life, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Lewis didn’t seem concerned or willing to speculate about Burfict’s health status after Sunday’s game.

From The Athletic’s Jay Morrison:

After Lewis explained Burfict’s actions toward [athletic trainer Paul] Sparling as frustration due to being pulled from the game, I tried to ask him if he was concerned about Burfict’s health due to the all of the concussions, but he cut off the question.

Here is the exchange verbatim:

Me: With the number of them he’s had and now these two so quickly together …

Lewis: You’re not a doctor.

Me: I was going to say, are you worried about his future?

Lewis: I’m not a doctor either.

No, neither Lewis nor Morrison are doctors. But seven concussions over six seasons — including two within three weeks — should certainly be cause for concern for anyone.

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