John Niyo of the Detroit News recently wrote an article about NFL players taking concussions more and more seriously. Here is an excerpt of the article with a link to the full version at the bottom.

Allen Park — Don Muhlbach, the veteran long snapper for the Lions, doesn’t remember his first — and only — concussion as an NFL player.

He remembers the first quarter of that December 2009 game at Baltimore, but not the next three watching from the sideline after taking a blow to the head on punt coverage. He remembers the flight home to Detroit, with team doctors refusing to let him sleep, checking him every 10 minutes. He remembers Drew Stanton driving him home from the airport.

Oh, and he does remember a conversation he had with kicker Jason Hanson in the postgame locker room.

“I remember asking him if we won,” Muhlbach said with a laugh — the Lions 48-3 loss that day was the team’s worst since 1991 — that comes freely now. “Jason just told me to be quiet.”

Quietly, though, Muhlbach remembers much more about how he felt — about how scared he felt — after that concussion. And it’s memories like that, along with increasingly-stringent rules in the NFL and some of the emerging stories involving retired players and the tragic effects of brain injuries, that are helping everyone in the NFL come to terms with a new reality.

Raising awareness

Amid speculation about the health and immediate future of Lions running back Jahvid Best, who suffered his second concussion in two months after a college career cut short in 2009 by concussions, the subject is unavoidable in Allen Park this week. (Linebacker Justin Durant and tight end Tony Scheffler also are working their way back from concussions suffered during the last month.)

But that’s true across the league, with a new sideline protocol in place this season helping raise awareness. Where concussions once were an afterthought, treated like notches on a belt, they’re gradually being viewed more for what they are: bullets in a chamber.