Any kind of head injury is a serious matter, but what would you say if I told you Wes Welker could be playing in this Sunday game? ABC News reported on Monday, Sept.1 that the Denver Broncos wide receiver returned to the field for lite practice today.
Let’s not get too excited D-Town, Welker has not been cleared for contact, yet. He is following the NFL's concussion protocol which allowed him to participate in practice, but not at 100 percent. The team took it easy today while wearing only helmets, jerseys and shorts.
Denver Broncos head coach, John Fox, said, "He's still in the protocol. He's still exercising. Feel good about progress." Fox continued by emphasizing that the main concern is Welker’s safety.
Monday marked Welker’s first practice since he suffered a concussion Aug. 23 in the Broncos’ first preseason loss against the Texans. This marked the third concussion Welker has suffered in the past year.
Having suffered two concussions last season, Welker missed the last three regular-season games. His first concussion while playing for the Broncos occurred in November and the second followed three weeks later.
At this point in his career, Welker does not want to slow down. Many are cautioning him that he should heavily consider retirement. There is a huge risk for him to play. Experts are saying that he could potentially cause brain trauma that could cause effects ranging from memory loss to mood swings.
Former NFL player Sean Morey is now dealing with the effects of his 20+ concussions he suffered during his career. Earlier this year NPR shared some details of Morey’s life after the NFL. He suffers from post-concussion syndrome, and takes a large number of medication for things like debilitating headaches that take place after the long term effects of accumulating hits..
In the story NPR shared that, “Hundreds of other NFL players have been diagnosed with far more serious conditions: dementia, ALS, Parkinson's and severe cognitive decline. On autopsy, the brains of more than 50 players show clear signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a progressive degenerative disease.”
Now, Morey is learning as much as he can about concussions. He was also involved in the million dollar concussion settlement between the NFL and retired players. In July, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody granted preliminary approval in the concussion related claim that allows for thousands of retired players to be the compensated. It could take six months to a year for players to start receiving money. The league is said to spend about $675 million in damages.
The Broncos open their season this Sunday, Sept. 7, against Indianapolis Colts. Welker has a few benchmarks that still need to be cleared, while remaining symptom free, before they can determine whether or not he will be playing in this game.