Toronto Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie found out about his starting quarterback Chad Kelly’s concussion from his wife, Abby.
“This morning, she got up before me, she’d seen it on 3Down — I guess she’s just as bad as me as far as reading that. She asked me about it, I didn’t know anything about that,” Dinwiddie said after winning the CFL’s Coach of the Year award.
“I know Chad’s a tough kid, and if he had one, he’s probably going to keep it to himself, make sure he finishes the full 60 minutes but today was the first day I heard that.”
Kelly exclusively told 3DownNation that he sustained a concussion during the East Final against Montreal. That was the reason the 29-year-old left BMO Field without shaking hands with the Alouettes. He went to the washroom after entering the locker room and had what he described as an out-of-body experience, calling it “scary.” Dinwiddie could not see any signs that his QB suffered a head injury during the game.
“No, I think if I would have known that we definitely wouldn’t have let him play for his sake. Knowing him, how tough he is, we know he will try to play through something like that,” Dinwiddie said. “We’ve got to be more careful in this business as far as head injuries and sometimes you’ve got to hide things away from the players, hide their helmet, don’t let them go back out there — guys want to play through that stuff.”
The six-foot-two, 216-pounder completed 21-of-36 passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions in his first career CFL playoff start. He carried the ball seven times for 58 yards and fumbled once, accounting for five of his team’s nine turnovers in the 38-17 upset loss to Montreal.
“I’m sure Chad felt a certain way with the head injury and he kept it from us. But as a football club, we didn’t know too much about it,” Dinwiddie admitted.
The 42-year-old bench boss stated he did not talk to Kelly about the concussion on Thursday after reading the news. Later that night, Kelly won the CFL’s George Reed Most Outstanding Player award. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 4,123 yards with 23 touchdowns against 12 interceptions along with 41 carries for 248 yards and eight touchdowns while leading the Argonauts to a 15-1 record as a starter.
“I just wanted to congratulate him for his accolades and what he’s done. You don’t even get a chance, we have so many people around, to talk about those things. I’m sure we’ll talk about it this week, see where he’s at. We’re always looking out for our players and their mental health and physical health,” Dinwiddie said.
“When it comes to brain injuries, that’s something you can’t take lightly. I think 10 to 12 years ago, no one even cared about it. Now we’ve got to worry about it and take care of our players. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about it until [Thursday] and if I knew more, I would have definitely taken him out of the game.”
Dinwiddie could not tell when Kelly potentially suffered the concussion. He watched the first two drives of the game on film and wanted to “throw up” but has not watched the rest of the coach’s tape yet.
“I’ll get on it this week and go from there, but I didn’t think he took anything crazy as far as crazy hits on his head. Maybe I missed something, I haven’t watched it,” Dinwiddie said.
“Chad’s a tough customer, it probably could have happened and he didn’t bat an eye and then we just go about our business as normal. If we knew he had a concussion, we would have definitely pulled him out of the game.”
Kelly was not pulled from the game by the league’s concussion spotter and he was unable to pinpoint exactly when the concussion occurred, though he suspects it may have happened early in the game. Argos’ team doctors were in contact with the franchise QB on Wednesday to assess how he was feeling and plan to get him in for medical testing.
“I think that after the game is over with, you just want to go home and figure out what just happened, spend time with the people that you care for and want to be with,” Kelly said. “We’ve addressed the situation, but I feel good.”