“That’s what we all thought,” Lacy said on Thursday.
Instead, Lacy sustained a concussion – the second of his brief NFL career – last Thursday night at Seattle. Having passed the NFL’s concussion protocol, Lacy returned to practice on Thursday and, barring a setback, should be in the lineup on Sunday against the Jets.
What might not be back is the SpeedFlex helmet. Lacy said he’s going back to his old helmet this week.
“They say it’s supposed to stop concussions,” Lacy said. “A few of us have them on the team and I guess just try it out. I tried it out, and I think I’ll go back.”
For the record, Riddell never said the SpeedFlex would stop concussions. Among its numerous safety enhancements is the obvious hexagon shape in the crown of the helmet. That’s meant to absorb the energy of collisions to better protect the brain.
“The flexible portion of the shell, when it works in conjunction with the padding on the inside of the shell can actually reduce forces more than if the shell was solid," Thad Ide, Riddell's senior vice president of research and product development, told ABC News. “Allowing the helmet to flex during impact could also reduce forces from frontal impact to the players head.”
While Lacy contemplates going back to his old helmet, it’s possible the new helmet prevented Lacy from sustaining a more severe concussion. While it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison, Lacy missed a game due to last year’s concussion against Washington. This time, he made rapid progress and might not miss any games.
“I don’t know,” Lacy said when asked if the helmet might have helped him, “because when I had my old helmet, I didn’t get a concussion again after the first one.”
Lacy said he probably sustained the concussion during a big collision with Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. Lacy stayed in the game and carried the ball on the next play. He headed for the sideline, figuring it was time to “chill out” after feeling dizzy following a spin move to avoid a tackler.
“Last year’s I can tell was severely worse than this one,” Lacy said. “I actually remember nothing when I got hit last year, but on this one I know everything that happened on that play and the play after and all the way until today. It was nowhere near as bad as last year.”
Coach Mike McCarthy said Lacy looked good at practice, and Lacy certainly seemed like his jovial, happy-go-lucky self while answering questions for reporters for about 7 minutes.
Still, there has to be some level of concern from the team that their franchise runner has sustained two concussions in 17 career games. Lacy, who said he didn’t sustain a concussion in high school or college, said he’s not worried about his future in the game and “will cross that bridge” if concussions start to impact him as he grows older. He will, however, consider changing his running style – though that’s easier said than done considering he’s been running with physical fury since he was a kid.
“I don’t know. I think I might change it,” Lacy said. “Somehow, I’ll have to figure out a way to change the way I run, but still keep the physical part of it. It’s not really something I’m trying to change as of now. I guess as I get older I will figure out how it goes.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.