The story of concussions in the NFL isn't going away anytime soon -- not until the league can find a way to limit head injuries in a sport that involves violent collisions. But Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who missed nine games in the past two years due to concussions, is done talking about them.
On Thursday, that's what Kuechly told reporters at Panthers OTAs.
"Everybody knows I wanted to play," he said, per ESPN.com. "Everybody knows the decision was made by the coaches. So hopefully we can move on from that. I'm not going to answer any more questions about concussions because I'm done with that."
At the beginning of the 2015 season, Kuechly was stuck in the concussion protocol for 34 days. He missed three games in all. Then he sat out the final six games of last season after suffering a concussion in a mid-November game against the Saints. He was carted off the field in tears.
Kuechly also said that he won't be adapting his playing style in an attempt to minimize the risks of football.
"You play the game and don't think about getting hurt because that slows you down and increases the likelihood of getting hurt," he said. "I don't think about it. You just go out there and play."
While it's understandable that Kuechly doesn't want to talk about concussions now that he's healthy, it's also understandable why reporters might want to seek his perspective on the issue. It's a topic that should be discussed, debated, and scrutinized. Just this offseason, there's been stories on:
- Panthers offensive tackle Michael Oher being stuck in the concussion protocol since September.
- Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, revealing that her husband had unlisted concussions in the past.
- Calvin Johnson admitting that he -- along with other players -- has hid concussions.
- A new helmet that is supposedly the safest one yet.
Those are just from this offseason. Last year, there was a battle between The New York Times and NFL after The Times reported the NFL's research into concussion was flawed. In 2015, a study showed that 95.6 percent of NFL players developed CTE. In recent offseasons, there's been growing number of players -- from Chris Borland to A.J. Tarpley -- who have stepped away from the game altogether due to health concerns. Meanwhile, the NFL's concussion protocol during games has come under scrutiny.
But on the other side of the spectrum, the Panthers deserve credit for holding out Kuechly at the end of last season.
"There's some medical science that says even though a guy is cleared, the longer you wait sometimes the better," coach Ron Rivera said. "All I did was follow what the doctors were telling me and made the decision I felt was best for the young man and the team going forward."