BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is recovering from a concussion that knocked him out of the AFC Championship Sunday and there’s hope that he’ll be available for the Super Bowl.
So what will it take for Gronk to be ready in just 13 days?
Right after Gronkowski suffered that blow to the head, he was taken immediately to the locker room where he reportedly entered the NFL’s concussion protocol.
For all NFL games, there are official spotters in the booth from both teams looking for potential concussions. If they see something concerning, a player may simply undergo a sideline concussion assessment.
In Gronk’s case, however, the average viewer at home could see that he was dazed and stumbling right after the hit which per protocol, requires a trip to the locker room for evaluation by an independent neurotrauma consultant.
The player is placed in a quiet environment to rest and is given serial neurological assessments over time. If a player passes, he may be allowed to return to play. If not, he’s out for the rest of the game.
In order to start playing football again, a player who has suffered a concussion has to return to his baseline, both in terms of his symptoms as well as his cognition and balance.
Then, and only then, will he be allowed to start exercising, beginning with light aerobics and gradually working his way back to full football practice. He must also be medically cleared by the neurotrauma consultant and the team physician before returning to practice.
In Gronk’s case, only time will tell if he will be ready to suit up for the Super Bowl in Minnesota on February 4.
Concussion symptoms can continue to develop over time and can last for minutes, hours, days or weeks depending on the severity.
Fans can only hope that his recovery is quick and complete, but as Tom Brady said last week when asked about his own hand injury, “we’ll see.”