Blue Bombers QB Buck Pierce not worried by head hits

Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce speaks to media about his head injury at McPhillips Street...

Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce speaks to media about his head injury at McPhillips Street Station Casino in Winnipeg, Man., Oct. 2, 2012. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:55 PM ET

WINNIPEG - For someone dealing with a concussion, Buck Pierce sure was making a lot of sense Tuesday at McPhillips Street Casino.

The Bombers quarterback is more miffed than muddled, more furious than foggy, after listening to a steady stream of calls for him to retire since Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac delivered a nasty, helmet-to-helmet cheap shot on Saturday night.

Pierce was diagnosed with a mild concussion on Tuesday, but he is symptom free and could still be under centre on Monday in Montreal if he passes a standardized concussion assessment tool, or SCAT test, in the next couple of days.

“However long it takes for him to pass that test is when he can play,” Bombers head coach Tim Burke said. “… He’s very close to passing it.”

Pierce refused to say how many concussions he’s had as a pro, but this is the third one that has been documented by the media through official channels. Pierce, who has left four CFL games due to head injuries, was also quoted in a Vancouver paper as saying he had a concussion in college.

“I know the truth of it, and the people that are close to me know the truth of it, and the people that need to know the truth know the truth,” he said. “It’s not like we’re trying to hide anything. It’s just this issue has so many things that go along with it. It’s a hot button in sports.”

Some will say the fact the 30-year-old gunslinger held his press conference in a casino on Tuesday night was fitting because he is gambling with his quality of life down the road. Pierce, however, believes there is more than enough precaution taken before an athlete hits the field.

“I fully understand every situation that I put myself into, and (the trainers and doctors) understand that, too,” Pierce said. “If they felt I wasn’t able to physically go out there and play or that it would be a risk for the club or for me going out there and playing, then they wouldn’t do that. And I wouldn’t do that.”

Exactly. You think in today’s day and age that a pro team’s training staff would let a football player go back on the field with a head injury? Not a chance. So everyone can stop playing doctor or the role of Buck’s best friend. He’s not going to listen to you, and nor should he. He’ll listen to the doctors, the training staff, his own body and those he cares about.

“(My family and friends) trust my judgment,” Pierce said. “They care for me as a person more than a lot of people out there. I value their opinion probably over mine. They said, ‘Be yourself. Do what you want to do. Realize that these things can happen and just trust yourself.’

“And that’s the thing. If I feel good and these things aren’t hindering me at the time, I’m fine with getting back out there and playing this game.”

Matt Dunigan, the Canadian Football Hall of Famer who suffered multiple concussions in his career, called Pierce on Monday to urge him to think about his future. Dunigan still suffers from post-concussion syndrome symptoms today, 16 years after he played his final game. Pierce was peeved, first of all, that Dunigan shared details of their conversation with the Winnipeg Sun, and he wants everyone to stop telling him what to think, even if he understands why they’re doing it.

“It’s out of respect. It’s out of getting to know me as a person as well,” Pierce said. “I understand that people care and that people want to see you do well and people have a level of respect for you that they feel for you on a personal level. And I understand that. And I appreciate that. But at the end of the day it’s me out there doing it.”

And if he wants to do it, let him do it.

PIERCE WANTS ARGO PUNISHED

Buck Pierce wants Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac to pay for what he did on Saturday night.

“It was a cheap shot, and it was dirty,” Pierce said Tuesday. “He had my whole mid-section to hit. You see the shot. He’s not trying to wrap, and he’s not trying to stop the play from developing within the confines of the rules.”

Isaac drilled Pierce in the face mask with the crown of his helmet just as the pivot was releasing a pass late in the first quarter of Toronto’s eventual 29-10 win that left the Bombers with a 3-10 record and all but out of playoff contention. Isaac got a 15-yard penalty but wasn’t tossed. Pierce left for stitches and a concussion test, which he passed, so he returned midway through the second quarter. The pain in his head wouldn’t go away, however, so Winnipeg’s training staff pulled him from the game at half time.

Pierce figures Isaac needs to learn a lesson.

“Suspension or fine. Whatever,” Pierce said. “I just think there has to be some kind of repercussions to it.”

Isaac is a repeat offender, so it’s difficult to think he won’t receive some sort of supplemental discipline. He was fined an undisclosed amount on Aug. 22 for a “dangerous and unnecessary illegal hit away from the play” on Stampeders running back Jon Cornish in a game four days earlier.

Buck Pierce wants Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac to pay for what he did on Saturday night.

“It was a cheap shot, and it was dirty,” Pierce said Tuesday. “He had my whole mid-section to hit. You see the shot. He’s not trying to wrap, and he’s not trying to stop the play from developing within the confines of the rules.”

Isaac drilled Pierce in the face mask with the crown of his helmet just as the pivot was releasing a pass late in the first quarter of Toronto’s eventual 29-10 win that left the Bombers with a 3-10 record and all but out of playoff contention. Isaac got a 15-yard penalty but wasn’t tossed. Pierce left for stitches and a concussion test, which he passed, so he returned midway through the second quarter. The pain in his head wouldn’t go away, however, so Winnipeg’s training staff pulled him from the game at half time.

Pierce figures Isaac needs to learn a lesson.

“Suspension or fine. Whatever,” Pierce said. “I just think there has to be some kind of repercussions to it.”

Isaac is a repeat offender, so it’s difficult to think he won’t receive some sort of supplemental discipline. He was fined an undisclosed amount on Aug. 22 for a “dangerous and unnecessary illegal hit away from the play” on Stampeders running back Jon Cornish in a game four days earlier.


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