Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly left last night’s loss to the Eagles, and the team said he was in the concussion protocol.
Today, one of his coaches declared him well.
According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks told reporters that he talked to Kuechly today, and that the former defensive player of the year was “perfectly fine.”
While that may well be good news, there’s also a very good chance it’s completely and utterly meaningless.
Kuechly has missed nine games the last two years because of concussions (three in 2015 and six last year), and this is the third time he’s been in the protocol. That means this is the third time he has suffered a brain injury while playing football.
He was able to run off the field under his own power last night, and that was a more comforting visual than when he was carted off the field in tears last year.
But with all due respect to Wilks, Kuechly will need to be cleared by an independent neurologist to determine his condition. And since symptoms can also take days to emerge, the notion that Kuechly is ambulatory and conversant on Friday might not be a reliable indicator of the health of his brain.