Troy Polamalu added another headache to the NFL's ever-present concussion problem on Wednesday.
The hard-hitting Pittsburgh Steelers safety said he's lied about head injuries to remain in games.
From what he told The Dan Patrick Show today, the problem is much bigger than the league is willing to admit.
"There's so much built up about team camaraderie and sacrifice and football is such a tough man's game," Polamalu told the radio host. "I think that's why it's so popular. That's why so many blue-collar communities and people can really feel attracted to this because it is a blue-collar struggle that football players go through."
The debate for Polamalu, who admits to "eight or nine recorded concussions," rests with severity.
He said just because NFL players see "stars" after a hit doesn't mean they are incapable of playing.
"If that is considered a concussion, I'd say any football player at least records 50 to 100 concussions a year."
That's not good news for NFL commissioner Roger Goddell.
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Despite instituting strict rules limiting head-to-head contact, the league has faced lawsuits and Congressional hearings into the issue, The New York Times reported.
The issue reached another crisis point this year when Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau shot and killed himself.
Many suspect that Seau's concussion history led to brain injuries, which resulted in the suicide.
A former teammate said earlier this year that a starting NFL player might experience 1,000 or more "Grade 1" concussions in a long career.
"In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar. They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter," Gary Plummer told the San Jose Mercury News.
Seeing stars is a routine part of the game, Plummer said.
"As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don't have five of these (effects) each game, you were inactive the next game. Junior played for 20 years. That's five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That's over 1,500 concussions."
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