With the NFL taking heat in recent years on not protecting the players on the issue of concussions, there is a huge emphasis on making the players go through protocols in order to ensure their health. New York Giants' offensive lineman Justin Pugh will return this week for the first time since suffering a concussion Nov. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I was scared, I’m not going to lie," Pugh said. "I was definitely scared by it, it was something that definitely woke me up, and made sure that you have to take care of yourself and make sure you’re doing the proper things right, especially when you go into the protocol to take the baby steps and do things right."
What caused this concussion? All that is clear is that it happened against Tampa Bay.
"It wasn’t a single hit that I can remember," Pugh said. "I came out the game against Tampa Bay and I really felt like I wanted to collapse after the game. I know a couple of guys came up to me and I just said I didn’t even want to do interviews. I think it could have been partially dehydration, but like I said, after seven days of having the same kind of symptoms, and headaches, and hoping it was dehydration and not a concussion, but it was definitely more than that."
The symptoms of having a concussion are no joke as Pugh explains what having a concussion for several weeks felt like.
"I’m missing three weeks and I was having bad headaches for three weeks," Pugh said. "I was sitting at home doing nothing for three weeks. When you’re talking about your brain and long-term effects from it and we’re seeing now what happens with guys, you have to make sure you take care of your brain."
While concussions are certainly an issue to look out for, there should be no long term ill-effects if treated right away according to Pugh.
"I met with a specialist and basically what a concussion is, it’s almost like a sprained ankle," Pugh said. "Once you’re fully healed from it, you’re fully healed from it. The issues come when you get a concussion, come back too soon, and then get another concussion. Your brain is trying to heal and once it heals, it’s fine. That’s where a lot guys have issues with now because they would come back too soon and get another hit to the head. Really everyone wants to put a negative connation against a guy who maybe has had several concussions, but once you’re healed you’re 100% fine. It’s almost like a sprained ankle from what I’ve been told, so that’s the biggest thing, taking the proper precautions, and making sure you’re 100 percent healthy."
The effect a concussion can have on a person is nothing to take lightly. Thanks to the NFL's concussion protocol, players are forced to suspend all activity until it's proven that they are completely healthy. While Justin Pugh in the short term will experience the pain that comes with a concussion, we can all take a sigh of relief on his long term health which should be "100 percent" when the symptoms fully subside.