ALLEN PARK -- Detroit Lions linebacker Justin Durant has been sidelined for the last three games with a concussion.
Durant initially stated he didn’t believe the concussion was serious, however he was not able to pass the NFL-mandated tests associated with concussion-like symptoms, restricting his availably for game day.
The initial self-diagnosis from Durant, projecting an early return, has made some fans restless with his slow recovery – especially after witnessing the defense allow 100-yard rushers in each of the past two contests.
The important thing to understand is: a concussion is a unique injury.
“That’s the toughest thing,” said Durant. “Our whole mentality is: we are going to play through whatever, it’s a tough game that we play and we realize injuries come but we want to be able to help out as much as we can. At the same time, I just have to (say) this is my life, this is a brain injury, it’s not a leg or ankle or wrist. It’s something that could affect me for the rest of my life. That’s why they have doctors to come and say ‘hey man, you can’t go’.”
Durant's concern was recently echoed by dilemma facing teammate Jahvid Best, whose own concussions have forced close acquaintances to suggest he sit out the year.
Concussions have been a significant concern around the league for years. Some former players have reported the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Also, there are studies that suggest that repetitive head injuries (such as concussions) can increase the likelihood of an individual developing Alzheimer’s disease.
For this reason, the league has implemented strict guidelines when dealing with players suffering concussions or displaying concussion like symptoms. They are also educating players on the dangerous of concussions.
Through education, more players have come forward.
“That’s why you see more and more (concussions) every year,” said Durant. “Probably the same number but they are making a big deal about it and making sure you report it.”
The Lions currently have three players on their roster dealing with concussions. In addition to Durant, Best and also tight end Tony Scheffler are sidelined with concussion-like symptoms.
“We got our own little team,” Durant joked, referring to the three sidelined players. “We ask each other ‘how you feeling today?’. I’m going through a point right now where I’ve already passed and I’m ready to be out there. I know how they feel. Hopefully they’ll be back earlier than I was.”
Durant claims he is feeling well and has passed his tests. No official word has come from the team.
Durant also believed he would be cleared to play three weeks ago – before missing his first game. However, when using hindsight, he now has a different perspective.
“To look back now, I really wasn’t good at all,” said Durant. “Now I realize I was at a whole other point. Now, I can see the point that I’m at now, I can look back and say I shouldn’t have done anything, period.”
Durant described his most significant symptom as ‘fogginess’ and claimed he had a difficult time focusing and paying attention.
As Durant inches closer to his return to game action, it is a good lesson for fans.
Overcoming a concussion is not a matter of toughness or courage, rather it’s a test of patience.