PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In slow motion the hit to Mason Rudolph’s head resembled a boxer taking an unblocked uppercut to the jaw.
“I saw the hit coming,” says Neurologist Dr. Bruce Cotugno, “and I said this is going to be serious. And when the shot came back to the quarterback on the floor I knew it was serious.”
Dr. Cotugno has seen the result of a lot of brains being violently bounced around inside skulls. So he watched the hit and replays from a position of expertise.
“He was being hit from behind and hit forward and he didn’t have anywhere to go. He took the direct shot and I noticed his head had a slight turn to it when he was hit. And he went straight down,” he said.
It was that blind side twisting hit that Dr. Emerald Lin, Physiatrist of HSS New York says makes Rudolph’s injury stand out, “Certainly those are more dangerous because the body isn’t ready to absorb the forces of the hit.”
Mason Rudolph joins a growing list of standout Pittsburgh athletes who’ve gone down concussion road.
There was Antonio Brown who was dropped by Vontez Burfict (back when they were both still playing), Matt Murray was sidelined a year ago, Patric Hornquist in January, Francisco Cervelli’s Pirate’s career was essentially ended by a concussion, and Sidney Crosby lost almost a year.
Crosby said in April of 2016 recovery is a personal thing.
“It’s different for everybody everyone kind of deals with it differently depends on type of player you are, the position that kind of thing I think that the main thing is you come back when you’re ready so you can deal with what might come your way,” the Penguins’ captain said.
Dr. Cotugno says recovery is now quick.
“Physical symptoms can last for weeks, headaches can last for weeks.” And he added, “A rotational injury is often more difficult to recover from than a direct blow.”
The Steelers put out a statement late Monday about Mason Rudolph:
“The Pittsburgh Steelers medical staff performed a thorough evaluation of Mason Rudolph on the field during Sunday’s game. After the evaluation, Mason indicated that he wished to walk off the field and the medical staff assisted him in walking off the field and to the locker room for further evaluation. He is in the concussion protocol and will be evaluated under the protocol as required.”
Head Coach Mike Tomlin is expected to release more information at his weekly news conference Tuesday.
You can watch John Shumway’s full interview with Dr. Bruce Cotugno here.