Sports | December 6, 2021 10:44 am

Chargers Coach Brandon Staley Deserves Praise for His Bold Stance on Concussion Safety

Staley didn't put star defensive end Joey Bosa back in a game on Sunday despite medical clearance to do so

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley with Joey Bosa
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley with Joey Bosa before a game.
Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty

Despite being cleared of suffering a concussion after taking a hit to the head early in the first half of Sunday’s win over the Bengals, Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa stayed on the sidelines in Cincinnati for the rest of the game.

The reason? First-year Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley was prioritizing his star defensive player’s well-being, not winning.

Following LA’s 41-22 victory on Sunday, which was a closer game than the final score indicates, Staley said that he decided to keep Bosa from returning to the game because of his concussion history.

“Joey Bosa was cleared of a concussion, but it was our decision to hold him back,” Staley said. “With his history, we just wanted to make sure. As long as I’m the head coach here, we’re going to be making decisions like that in the best interest of our players. He was cleared of a concussion, so that’s good news.”

But Bosa didn’t take the news he wouldn’t be returning to the game very well. “He was not OK not playing,” Staley said. “He wanted to be out there.”

Bosa, 26, suffered a pair of concussions last year and missed time in the middle of the season as well as LA’s last two games. “I undersold how much it affected me mentally with a concussion or what I had to deal with,” Bosa said prior to this season. “It was really intense, and I kind of fell into a bit of a hole at the end of last year mentally. It’s your health long term, and you see so many people losing their minds. There are people around me that have been losing their fathers from brain diseases and it’s just it’s a scary thing to think of.”

To help get himself ready to play this year, Bosa started to see a therapist as well as meditate. He also opened up about the mental impact the concussions inflicted upon him to his teammates and coaches, including Staley.

“I think that for him to be so outspoken,” the 38-year-old coach said. “It’s very courageous to me; there’s a lot of bravery. Then there’s also a selflessness too because he’s not thinking about himself. He’s thinking about other people. Anytime you have a star player like him that thinks that way, it’s amazing.”

With his decision yesterday to hold Bosa out of action instead of putting him back in harm’s way, Staley showed he’s truly thinking about others as well, which is not something you see that often in the winner-takes-all trenches of the NFL.