Fans Question If Kenny Pickett Had Wk 1 Concussion, Offseason Equipment Change Might’ve Prevented It

Kenny Pickett throws a pass for the Steelers in a game vs. the 49ers.

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Concussions were a major topic of conversation in 2022, and the NFL is doing its best to both limit and identify the scary situations on the field. The league has gone to further lengths to test players involved in plays where potential head injuries could’ve occurred.

They can’t catch everything, though. Fans and media are now questioning whether Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett suffered a concussion on his opening drive against San Francisco.

On just the third play of the Steelers’ first offensive drive, Pickett was sacked by 49ers defensive lineman Drake Jackson. As Jackson slung the passer to the ground, you can see Pickett’s head bounce off the turf.

It caused immediate concussion speculation.

Pickett’s play only furthered that speculation as he looked off the rest of the game. On the day, he threw two picks and missed open receivers time and again. The Steelers would go on to lose, 30-7.

Now, that performance could’ve been credited to the 49ers’ defense, arguably the top unit in the NFL. But given the early game hit, fans will continue to concoct their own theories.

It’s worth noting that head coach Mike Tomlin called that Pickett concussion speculation a “non discussion.”

Pickett might’ve just been saved by an offseason change to his equipment.

Kenny Pickett takes concussion precaution with helmet change.

According to Wyoming News, Pickett will be wearing “the VICIS Matrix QB helmet, which this year was graded as the safest quarterback helmet in the NFL and NFLPA’s joint laboratory testing results.”

The change comes after the quarterback suffered two concussions in his 2022 rookie season. The injuries forced him to miss one start last year while also having to be sidelined for portions of two contests.

“Now that I have a little better protection… I feel a little better about it.”

He wasn’t the only passer feeling the pain last year. Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple scary concussions leading to his missing extended time on the field. In some instances, he was seen unsteady on his feet after the head injuries, with some going as far as to consider retirement for the young QB.

Pickett, seeing and experiencing the dangers of these injuries, has opted to act.

He’s now sporting a helmet specifically designed for quarterbacks. The VICIS Matrix QB helmet is supposed to take impact off hits to the back of the head, as opposed to other areas. It could prove more beneficial to players at the position.

Pickett noted that “the worst hits are from the ground and not actually getting hit by a player.” That might vary with, say, an offensive lineman, who rarely get tackled and see more direct head-to-head contact.

The passer is doing all he can to stay safe in 2023. The equipment change might’ve just saved Pickett from suffering a concussion in his first game of the season.