Wes Welker cleared to travel, not to play

AP

As Broncos receiver Wes Welker recovers from a third concussion in his last 10 games, Welker has received medical clearance to travel to Dallas for the preseason finale against the Cowboys.

According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Welker has not yet been cleared to play.

While the news constitutes tangible proof that Welker isn’t presently debilitated by his most recent brain injury, any doctor who signs off on Welker returning to action must be comfortable with the risk that the next concussion will be the one from which Welker doesn’t quickly and normally recover.  Though his total career concussions aren’t known because he spent plenty of time playing in the days of the how-many-fingers-two-you’re-good protocol, Welker could be on a path that results in concussions happening much more easily, and lingering much longer, given his history.

So at what point do the doctors operate like a boxing referee and stop the fight?  On one hand, Welker and any player should be permitted to accept whatever risk he consciously understands and chooses to embrace.  On the other hand, at a certain point a player must be protected from himself.

With each additional concussion, Welker gets closer and closer to that moment.

15 responses to “Wes Welker cleared to travel, not to play

  1. At some point health has to be more important than the game. Go ahead and retire. You will still go down as one of the deadliest slot WRs of all time.

  2. If he chooses to continue to play knowing the risk then fine. But when he retires and hops on the “I didn’t know it would do this to me” bandwagon ‘in todays’ NFL (Where now they know the risk) is when they’re going to start telling players they can’t come back.

  3. I think it’s time Welker call it a game. He is setting himself up for a lot of problems in the future and it’s obvious he can’t/won’t stop playing of his own free will. Someone needs to step in and make the call for him.

  4. I am not a neurologist and I have not examined Welker so all I know is what a layman knows from reading and hearing news reports. Considering that, I am concerned for Welker’s current and future well-being.

    Welker has had a great career, made a lot of money and even got to play in 3 Super Bowls. Other than not getting a Super Bowl championship ring, he’s achieved most everything a player dreaming of playing in the NFL could dream of. He might even make the Hall of Fame (maybe he won’t, but it’s not a crazy idea that he might be voted in).

    Seeing all the former NFL players with significant brain problems ranging from early onset dementia to motor neuron diseases like ALS (sadly, I have a former college teammate suffering from ALS) makes me especially concerned for Welker. I’ve said before that when I played college ball back in the dark ages, athletic department policy was that you would not be medically cleared to play any sport after three concussions (that mainly affected football, hockey, and wrestling). That was a good policy (but too bad it wasn’t seriously put into practice, since some guys never went to the trainers or team doctor when they likely had concusssions).

    It looks like Welker plans to come back but if he retired now I’d applaud his decision. There’s no shame in it, just like there was no shame in that talented young RB Jahvid Best retiring due to concussions. Players like Welker and Best should take pride in what their hard work helped them accomplish, and they should make sure to take care of their health so they can live full, healthy lives long after their football careers are over.

  5. 3 concussions last 10 games..or months…whatever it is…Wes you have kids. Dont be Junior Seau. You’ll obviously regret this if it turns out bad. You have plenty of money..your kids are more important than a game..and more money you might never even see. Hang em up..Im a die hard Patriots fan..gotta love Wes. But its time to go

  6. Broncos – if you want to support Welker while at the same time doing what is best for him – make him a coaching intern for the remainder of the season. Then give him an injury settlement and full-time non-playing job with the team.

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