10:45 PM EDT, August 21, 2012
Colts wide receiver Austin Collie continues to be listed as day-to-day as he deals with a concussion from Sunday's preseason game against the Steelers. After multiple concussions in the past two years, many are wondering whether he should continue to play at all.
On Tuesday, Colts doctors spent time educating parents at North Central High School about how to identify and manage concussions. Though the team doctors didn’t comment on Collie or other concussion-related issues in the NFL, many parents said Collie’s injury and the risks were on their minds.
"Constantly, to the point that I'm kind of reluctant for him to play, but I know he loves it," said Terri Lambert, whose 13-year-old son plays football.
Lambert said her son continues to play football and has never suffered a concussion, but she and other parents wonder what they would do if their kids had to deal with one or more.
"I would say no more than two (concussions),” Lambert said. “If it should happen, we need to cut it because it's not worth it. You know, he has his whole life ahead of him."
"My first thought is (after) the first one I don't think I would encourage further play," said Lillie Mickels, who has a freshman son going out for football this year.
Though Colts doctors won’t comment on the decision Collie faces, Dr. Michael Turner, a neurosurgeon for IU Health, said Collie's latest injury is significant because multiple concussions have sidelined him in the past two years. In 2010, Collie suffered two concussions which ended his season.
"You know, the doctors can say you're medically healed, 'You can go back and play,'” Dr. Turner said. “It's where the player said, 'But I'm going to get hit again.'"
Despite extensive studies on concussions and their impact on the brain, Dr. Turner said there are too many variables to know how many concussions will seriously impact a player's long-term health. That’s why, for now, the decision of whether or not to come back from multiple concussions is difficult and personal.
"I think Austin, at some point is going to look at his kids and say, 'It's time for my new career,'” Dr. Turner said. “You know, you love football but, you also want to live until 50 or 60 and not commit suicide at 45."
"Personally, you only have one body and one life,” Lambert said. “If you have family, it's just about spending time with them. That's where I come from."