BEREA, Ohio – Browns tight end Evan Moore thought he had survived a vicious hit. Then the stadium started spinning.
Cleared by Cleveland's medical staff to go back on the field two plays after being clobbered by Kansas City rookie safety Kendrick Lewis, Moore was starting to run when his world began to rotate.
"I went back out and ran the pass route, I knew there was a problem," Moore said. "I was dizzy and felt like I was going to fall over."
On the same day doctors warned Congress about the risks of permanent brain damage to athletes who aren't properly protected from head trauma, Moore recalled his own scare during the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the Chiefs.
Moore sustained a concussion — he said the first of his career — on the hard hit by Lewis, who was penalized for unnecessary roughness.
After going down, Moore shook his head as he has done after taking big hits before and jogged to Cleveland's sideline, where he was met by team trainers. He felt normal and told them so. The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder had taken jarring hits and figured this was just another one.
"It was a good hit," Moore said, "but I didn't black out or anything. When I took the hit, it wasn't something where I felt like I had a concussion. I felt like I just took a good hit and came off and coach said, 'Are you all right?' I said, 'I'm fine.'"
Or so he thought.
Back in the huddle, Moore listened to quarterback Seneca Wallace call the play and then lined up for a third-and-8 play. He still felt fine. Seconds later, he wasn't.
"I ran a route and didn't feel right," Moore said Thursday as his teammates dressed for practice. "So I told the trainer, 'Something happened, this just ain't right.'"
Moore came off the field again, and this time he was taken to the Browns' locker room, where he was diagnosed with the concussion.
"I want to make it real clear: It's not something where I came off and the coaches said, 'Hey, get back in there, you're fine'," he said. "It was something where I felt fine until I ran again. And as soon as I felt that, we went into the locker room."
The fact that Moore re-entered the game following the jarring tackle led to speculation that the Browns mishandled his injury. Moore, though, said the team acted accordingly and he made it clear that he was responsive to the team's medical staff, which did not detect he was concussed.
Coach Eric Mangini said the Browns treated Moore properly.
"I don't think we lacked caution," he said. "I don't think it was a function of, 'Forget about what happened, send him back in.'
We have the trainer and the doctor on the sideline, that's never a coaching decision. Everybody is doing the best they can to make sure the players' safety is first. I know how good (head trainer) Joe (Sheehan) is and how good our doctors are and we are going to work each game to make sure that we don't put a guy in a spot that he shouldn't be in.
"It's important to us not to do that."
Moore's concussion is the second confirmed by the Browns since the start of training camp. Safety Nick Sorensen was hospitalized following a violent helmet-to-helmet collision during an exhibition game in Detroit last month.
Per the NFL's policy on head injuries, Moore visited an independent doctor to be evaluated and tested for the head injury. He has not been given permission to practice, but said he has not had any symptoms in several days and it's possible he could be practicing again on Friday.
Moore said the league's efforts to educate its players on the risks of head injuries has raised his awareness about them. He pointed to one of the new signs hanging in the locker room that promotes head safety. It's one thing for others preach caution, but Moore, who earned a bachelor's degree in political science and master's in sociology from Stanford, said it's an individual's responsibility.
Moore knows of players who will lie to stay on the field.
He's not one of them.
"I love football, but when you start talking about putting your head at risk, it's not happening," he said. "Some guys might still have issues and say they're gonna play anyway — good for them. But if I don't feel quite right, there's no way I'm going out on the field."
Moore knows he can't play forever, but he won't do anything to jeopardize his health or career goals.
If he can survive the NFL's school or hard knocks, Moore want to go to law school.
"That's my goal," he said. "I'm just going to be real cautious with this. I'll put any part of my body at risk but my head."