Despite its utter irrelevance to the playoff picture, the Calgary Stampeders' 18-13 loss to Winnipeg in the snow Saturday may wind up having a significant impact on the postseason. That's because star Calgary RB Jon Cornish left that game after hitting his head on the ground, awakening fears of a return of the concussion he sustained in the Stamps' first regular-season game in June on a hit from Montreal's Kyries Hebert. Here's video of Cornish's injury:
The difficulties Cornish has getting up after this certainly could be signs of a concussion, and it's definitely positive that Calgary pulled him and kept him out afterwards. They've also preemptively announced that he won't play this week against the B.C. Lions. That kind of proper response hasn't always been the case in the CFL, or even with the Stampeders. Still, the club did the right thing in this instance, which is particularly good considering Cornish's concussion history. That June concussion caused him to miss substantial time in July and August, and multiple concussions can be especially problematic, both in the short term and in the long term.
After the game, Cornish told reporters ">he didn't think this was as bad as the knock he took in June:
"I knew I was concussed after that," Cornish said. "I was not at the same level I'm at now.
"I guess I got upended, another guy going for my knees as always and my head contacted the ground on the right side," he continued.
"When you hit it on the side, that's when you get the balance issue, so when I was getting up, I didn't have much balance so then immediately everybody freaks out.
"Go in, get checked out, no real issues, but as a precautionary measure, they took me out."
Cornish added that he won't know for sure if he was concussed until he spends a few days symptom-free, though:
"Like I learned before with concussions, you can't say anything until you've got a few days without symptoms."
This has been a star-crossed year for Cornish, who's also been knocked out with a knee injury and "general soreness." When he has played, though, the CFL's reigning Most Outstanding Player has been terrific; Cornish currently leads the league with 1,082 rushing yards (second-place John White of Edmonton has 852), and he was incredibly effective against Winnipeg before leaving with this injury, rushing for 105 yards on 12 carries. Cornish has alo been a key part of the Stampeders' run to a league-best 14-3 record that's given them first place in the West and a guaranteed first-round bye. That bye means they won't play a meaningful game until Nov. 23, so he at least has some solid time to recover. We'll see if it proves to be enough of a break for him to get healthy.