January 20, 2020

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Concussions worth the risk

Buck won't be shortchanged on his career

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/10/2009 (3746 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Football is to Buck Pierce what a jelly doughnut is to most people. Maybe not so good for us but all the same, irresistable.

Pierce, who according to most reports has suffered concussion-like symptons on three occasions this season, cannot stay away from football.

To the contrary, earlier this season when he was shut down for a number of weeks due to a concussion, many were asking the B.C. Lions quarterback if it was time to step away from football.

"Risk is everywhere. In everything you do. I really enjoy what I do and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world," said Pierce via phone earlier this week.

"I cherish each start and each play and each rep in practice. I enjoy the effort of trying to win. I could go outside and get hit by a bus. I want to play football as much as I can and as long as I can. When I had to sit out earlier this season, I realized it can be taken away from you. A lot of people would give anything to do what I do for a living. But it can be gone in a minute and it's not for very long. When it was in question and when people were asking me if my career was in jeopardy, it was jarring to me. It made me want to get back even more. I didn't want to lose it."

The stories of football players suffering concussions during their career and then spending the rest of their lives dealing with the aftermath are endless.

The 27-year-old Pierce watched first-hand as former Lions teammate Dave Dickensen fought through head injuries and eventually retired at 35 due to the toll concussions and other injuries had taken on his body.

This season, after Pierce went down for the third time after a hit from Claude Harriott of the Toronto Argonauts in early August, the Lions shut Pierce down so he could get healthy. Since his return, Pierce has led B.C. to three wins and one loss and inserted his club back into the playoff conversation in the West Division.

Pierce has not changed his game and still leans into a hit when a first down is available, rather than sliding or stepping out of bounds.

The New Mexico State product has been strong in his last four games, throwing for four TDs against two interceptions with a completion rate over 65 per cent and a pair of 300-yard games.

"What every head coach looks for is consistency. Do you know what you're getting week in and week out and does the player know what he's doing out there," said Pierce.

"I have to be consistent. I've been able to show I can manage the football team and understand what we're trying to do out there. I don't have the big arm like Michael Bishop or Jarious (Jackson). Of course, I'd like to. I have to rely on other things... my knowledge of the offence and the CFL game and what can work against a given defence."

Pierce played a role in the Lions' march to a Grey Cup championship in 2006 and says his current club has some similarities to that title team.

"We're starting to develop some tendencies that club had. When we're on, we're a real good team," said Pierce.

"But we're hot some weeks and cold the next. We've got to be right at the right time, which is coming down the stretch."

Pierce sees today's game as a tell-tale outing for both clubs.

"This a game for both us and Winnipeg. We've both won a few games lately and appear to be on a bit of a streak," said Pierce. "Now we need to see which team is able to take it to the next step."


Word from above

WALLY Buono on Buck Pierce:

"I'll use a baseball analogy. Some guys will go up and get you a home run, Buck goes up and gets you lots of singles and doubles. But he's getting more comfortable going down field and looking for that home run."

"He has good vision, he plays tough and his teammates like him and like to play for him."

"I understand Buck's mindset. I don't know that he's been given a medical opinion that says if he takes one more hit he's going to be any certain way. I don't think he's at any more risk than any other person."


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