Darius Leonard feared for career after concussion

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Colts linebacker Darius Leonard was cleared from the concussion protocol Monday. But there was a point when he wondered if he was ever going to.

Via Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star, Leonard said he grew concerned when his “severe” concussion symptoms lingered into a third week, and his first thoughts were not about football.

“The first week, I wasn’t thinking about wife and kids, that stuff,” Leonard said. “I was like OK, ‘I’ve had a concussion before. I’ll get over it.’ Second week, I was like, ‘Ahhh, you know, it’s all right.’ The third week, that’s when I really started thinking, ‘Wait a minute. I got a wife and kid. I’ve had a headache for three weeks now.

Will I ever be the same? Do I keep playing?’ I mean you have those thoughts in the back of your head.”

The headaches stopped last week, but he admitted it was frustrating that brain injuries don’t have a timetable, the way a broken arm or a sprained ankle might. He was also away from his teammates, as he wasn’t able to be at the facility because his symptoms returned when he went outside.

“It was definitely tough being away from the team, not being able to go out there and help your brothers out,” Leonard said. “It definitely was rough, especially when I couldn’t even be on the sidelines. It was definitely a tough time for me.”

And, he came to realize, tougher because of the long-term concerns.