WASHINGTON — As the CEO of a safety technology company that is working to create a more effective helmet, Shawn Springs is a reputable voice when it comes to concussion research.
But his story on Tuesday, when he joined The Sports Junkies in studio, came from firsthand experience, from his days as a player with the Redskins.
On Dec. 12, 2004, the Redskins hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Washington was in the midst of a mediocre 6-10 season under Joe Gibbs, while Philadelphia was en route to a dominant 13-3 season under Andy Reid — the Eagles were 13-1 before losing the final two games of the regular season, and they eventually fell to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Springs, now the CEO of Windpact, was rocked by a blindside block courtesy of Eagles fullback Josh Parry in the fourth quarter of that game. He was knocked unconscious and eventually taken off the field on a stretcher before being hospitalized.
Here’s the story, as Springs told it to the Junkies.
“I don’t know if you guys remember, I got knocked out on Sunday night against the Eagles,” he began. “I was out for like 10 minutes. I woke up and there was [Terrell Owens] standing over me, Brian Dawkins crying, Coach [Joe] Gibbs.”
“Oh so they thought you were dead?” asked host Jason Bishop.
“I thought I was dead,” Springs responded.
“When you woke up, could you remember anything?” host John-Paul Flaim asked.
“Only thing I could remember, I could remember one name, his name was Bubba Tyer. That was the Redskins trainer,” Springs said. “I didn’t know anybody else. I just saw Brian Dawkins crying over top of me.”
“And so when you got out of that fog, what did you feel the rest of the week, let’s say?” Flaim asked.
“Oh, I was foggy the whole week. That was one of those where I was foggy for about two weeks,” Springs said.
“Who hit you?” Bishop asked.
“I think it was Josh Parry,” Springs answered. “Donovan McNabb was scrambling. [Parry] was the fullback, and the fullback just cracked back and knocked me in the air. But I mean it happens in football. That’s part of the game.”
He missed one game, a Saturday game against the San Francisco 49ers, then returned to the field on Dec. 26 to play the Dallas Cowboys, just 14 days after his potentially devastating injury. For what it’s worth, he recorded two sacks and an interception, which he returned 38 yards, in that game against the Cowboys.
Springs later commented that he didn’t expected the concussion problem to be fixed any time soon.
“I don’t think no one in our lifetime is going to solve the concussion issue,” he said. “It’s just some guys are more prone. And then you’ve got a guy like Ray Lewis. Ray has never suffered a concussion. Ever.”
You can listen to Springs tell the story himself below.