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Receiver out with concussion

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Wayne Chrebet sustained a concussion
against the New York Giants, the latest in a line of head injuries
for the New York Jets' veteran receiver.
Chrebet will not play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders and is
listed as week to week.
He was hurt in the third quarter last Sunday when Omar Stoutmire
delivered a blow to the back of his head, causing Chrebet to
briefly lose consciousness. Dr. Elliot Pellman, chairman of the
Jets' medical department, carefully evaluated Chrebet on the
sideline and determined he had recovered from the concussion to
return to the game.
On Monday, coach Herman Edwards said Chrebet had a sore neck and
back. Chrebet underwent several exams that were negative, but
started complaining about fatigue and headaches later that day.
After Pellman evaluated Chrebet again Wednesday, he determined
Chrebet should not play until he knew what was causing the
symptoms. Pellman does not know whether Chrebet has post-concussion
syndrome, so he will undergo more tests and be evaluated by an
independent neurologist.
``Am I just being cautious? The answer is yes,'' Pellman said.
``Am I second-guessing myself for returning him to play Sunday? The
answer is no. Am I concerned enough for him not to play this
weekend? Yes.
``Will I look at you and say, 'Will Wayne Chrebet play football
again?' Yeah, I think so, but I'm not sure. I need some help with
this one, and that's why I'm reaching out to the experts.''
Earlier in the year, Chrebet hurt his back against the Buffalo
Bills. But he complained of migraines, blurry vision and light
sensitivity, and Pellman determined the force of the hit triggered
a post-traumatic migraine. Chrebet did not play the following week
against Houston because of his sore back.
Edwards said the hit Chrebet took against the Giants was in the
same place he got hurt against the Bills. Chrebet wanted to get
back in the game, but now regrets the decision.
``It was stupid trying to get back out there,'' Chrebet said.
``It was me trying to convince them and myself that everything was
all right.''
Chrebet, a nine-year veteran, also had similar problems in 2001.
He took a helmet-to-helmet hit against Miami and sustained a
concussion, but played the following week against the Rams.
In that game, he took another hit to the helmet. Chrebet had
post-traumatic migraines _ not a concussion. Chrebet only missed
one game, but expressed concern about his long-term health.
He does not want to do anything to jeopardize his future.
``I'm not going to fight this,'' Chrebet said. ``Usually you try
to fight and lie to get back on the field, but this is the smart
thing to do.''
Chrebet has 27 catches for 289 yards and one touchdown this
season, and Curtis Conway once again will start in his place.
``Any time things like that happen you are concerned with a lot
of things. That's human nature,'' Edwards said. ``He probably is.
You have to think about your long-term longevity.''
Chrebet said he has been undergoing tests for the last few weeks
and will not rush his return. He will not travel with the team to
Oakland.
``A lot of guys get concussions and injuries every week and guys
play with it,'' Chrebet said. ``It's part of the game. You just
have to take the right precautions afterward to make sure you're
healthy before you get back out there. That's what they're doing
right now.''
Pellman said he is worried that because Chrebet has taken so
many hits to the head, he could become predisposed to sustaining
concussions or developing post-concussion syndrome.
Former Jets receiver Al Toon retired because of post-concussion
syndrome.
``Is this another player that is entering that dark hole of
post-concussion syndrome?'' Pellman said. ``I will answer you
honestly and I will tell you I do not know. I also will tell you
Wayne Chrebet is not Al Toon. I have retired players, some
unhappily, because of this injury.''