Jamaal Charles: I Was Seeing Light Bulbs


Did Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, who recently admitted to seeing “light bulbs” a couple of plays after he collided with San Diego Chargers CB Brandon Flowers, have a concussion?

Jamaal Charles became the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher last Sunday on a TD run in which he collided violently with former Chiefs turned San Diego CB, Brandon Flowers. Flowers was more shaken up on the play than Charles and though he returned for a couple of plays, ultimately left the game with a concussion. Charles, however, continued to play.

But at what cost?

In a recent interview with ESPN Radio, Charles gave a little more insight into how he felt after the hit.

“I didn’t have a concussion but it definitely was a hit that shocked me,” said Charles. “But I don’t think I had to go through the concussion protocols and all that. I didn’t want to go through that again because of what happened in the playoffs. I was definitely fine, I think I came out pretty good.”

Charles is referencing the Chiefs’ playoff game last season against the Indianapolis Colts in which he was knocked out early on with a concussion. The Chiefs jumped out to an early lead in the game before allowing the Colts to come back and win. It appears that not being able to be on the field helping his team still bothers Charles.

Though Charles said in the interview that he didn’t think he had a concussion this Sunday, he did admit to having some symptoms a couple of plays after the hit.

“It definitely hurt,” Charles said. “It’s like, I woke up — I mean, like, a couple plays later I was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes, and I was trying to catch them. But I was in the game so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get the ball and run again.’”

Nobody will ever question Charles’ toughness but it is disconcerting to hear him talking about wanting to avoid going through the NFL’s concussion protocol. The NFL is now taking head injuries very seriously and the league likely won’t like hearing that Charles was exhibiting concussion-like symptoms and didn’t go through the protocol.

Though I am not sure the Chiefs can be to blame here. Charles did take a lick on the play but he hopped right back up and didn’t appear to be dazed in any way, while Flowers stayed on the ground. An argument could be made that the Chiefs should have still examined Charles out of an abundance of caution. Still, players take so many hard hits in the NFL that if the team examined them after each one, guys could end up spending half the game on the sideline.

The important thing here is Charles’ health. The Chiefs certainly need him on the field but not at the expense of his career and long-term health. Knile Davis is a very capable backup and I am sure most Chiefs fans would agree that they’d like to see Charles’ career not be shorted because he stayed in a game he should have been pulled from.

Ultimately it is up to Charles to make the decision on how forthright he wants to be with the team’s medical staff.

Here’s hoping those “lightbulbs” Charles was seeing on Sunday were from the media and adoring fans, not a concussion.