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.