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Hines Ward Talks About Concussions, Life After Football

By: Bob Pompeani
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(Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has been on both sides of the physical nature of football.

He has delivered some bone-crunching hits and he has taken his share of them too, including one that happened during the Steelers’ 39-26 loss to the New England Patriots last week.

The hit ended his game and his 186 consecutive game streak of catching at least one pass.

Ward told KDKA’s Bob Pompeani in an exclusive interview that he really respects the Steelers’ doctors. He also said they are the best in the game, but he felt he should have been allowed to go back in the game.

Pompeani: How disappointed were you that you didn’t get back into that game?

Ward: I was disappointed and not just because of the streak. I was disappointed that I couldn’t go back to help my teammates. I was a little dizzy for about 10 minutes, but then I was fine and I didn’t have concussion-like symptoms.

Pompeani: So, I guess you wanted to get back in there and I know you have probably played with a lot worse, but I think the league is making a statement of protection. They want to protect people like you from you.

Ward: Every game somebody has a concussion, somebody has their bell rung. They just don’t tell the doctors. Now, guys aren’t [going to] tell doctors [because] they might not get back into the game.

Pompeani: But that seems to me you are risking too much. I understand the need to get back in there, but are you sacrificing your future health?

Ward: We know what we signed up for. This is a physical game. It’s not for everybody. At the end of the day, everyone will have something to replace. Post-career knee replacement, hip replacement and yet we still play this game. Will we let our kids play it.? I would.

I don’t want people telling me what I can and cannot do. It’s like if you smoke. You know it will kill you, but if you choose, you continue to smoke. We as players, we don’t worry about life after football. We live present day.

Pompeani: But when that time comes, will you regret that decision, when you get to that day after football? Will you worry about it and will you wish?

Ward: No, because my kids will be well taken care of and that’s the sacrifice I put my body through. If I do have problems later in life, I chose to play football.

Ward also believes those who govern football are being hypocritical when it comes to the concussion issue.

“The league worries about that, but then they add two more adds. They contradict themselves. They want to say they worry about as after our careers, then they want to you go out there and bang heads for two more games,” Ward said.

Ward has had 13 years of banging heads, which you would think puts him close to retirement and life after football.

“It wont be playing five years from now, but it wont be this year. I still can play this game and after winning two Super Bowls, I want to win another,” Ward said. “I’ve gotten everything I can get out of football, but now I just want to keep winning.”

Pompeani: I know after football, eventually you do want to get into broadcasting and I know, you and I have done a lot of work together. You seem to be heading in that direction.

Ward: I think I can bring a lot to the table with my years of insight and I know it’s not easy.

Pompeani: I’m glad you appreciate that.

Ward: But, I know I have plenty of work to do. You’ve got to put a whole bunch of information into a 15 to 20 second window. There’s a lot to work on and I plan on doing that. In fact, when I watch football on tv now, I listen to announcers more. I want to see how say what they have to say in such a small window of time, but eventually I’m looking forward to that.

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