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Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu "Doubtful" for Super Bowl Because Of Head Lice Infection

  • By Wire Reports (AP)
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Troy Polamalu sits on the sideline earlier this year. Polamalu may be quarantined from participation in Sunday's Super Bowl unless he shaves his famous hair to eradicate a head lice infection. (AP Photo)

DALLAS, TEXAS - Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu may miss Sunday's Super Bowl, unless he makes a very difficult personal decision:

He must shave his head in order to have a chance of playing.

Polamalu was diagnosed with a severe head lice infection Thursday, said Dallas County Health & Human Services medical director Dr. Steven Harris. The condition was first detected Wednesday, and confirmed by county health officials.

Traditionally, chemical shampoo treatments are capable of eliminating the infestation, however, Polamanu's thick, long hair would prevent a 100% confirmation of success, Harris said.

"Patients with such thick, long hair can be treated without shaving their hair, however, it takes 6-10 days for those treatments to be confirmed," Harris told reporters at a press briefing held outside the Dallas health department. "It is the obligation of this department to be sure that the infected patients not be allowed to spread the infestation. Therefore, we require quarantine of the affected until eradication is confirmed."

The only way to confirm eradication before Sunday's game, Harris said, is shaving the patients hair. "We can much more easily treat and confirm successful eradication in patients with short or shaved hair."

Polamalu, a nationally recognized figure because of his hair, has been growing it for more than 10 years. One of his major endorsement contracts, Proctor & Gamble's Head & Shoulders shampoo, includes a $1 million insurance policy on his hair.

Close friend and fellow Steeler Ike Taylor told reporters late Thursday that he was not sure if Polamalu would shave his head in order to "maybe" play in the Super Bowl.

"Man I don't know. It's some crap, that's what it is. His hair is like his child. And they're going to make him shave it? I don't know," Taylor said. "I don't know what I'd do in his place. It's one of those decisions, you know, that you never want to have to make."

While his teammates may not know what Polamalu will do, the Steelers official injury report released Friday morning lists him as "Doubtful".

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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