The Pittsburgh Steelers are taking on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 of the NFL season. Starting quarterback Kenny Pickett took a hard hit after a sack and was removed from the game. After some testing, he returned but only for a few plays. Upon more tests, Pickett was ruled out for the game with a concussion. Quarterback concussions have been a hot topic this season, so how long could the rookie be out?
The true answer is that we don’t know how long he could be out. There are five phases that the player has to pass through in the new concussion protocols. The first is symptom-limited activity which occurs when the player is still experiencing the effects of the concussion. The player can then progress to regular aerobic exercise, football-specific exercise and non-contact training drills. Usually, we will see players register a limited practice participation when they are in this stage. Once they progress through that with no setbacks, they can be cleared for full football activity. The team doctors will work with an Independent Neurological Consultant to continually check on the player.
We have seen players return the following week from a concussion, and we have seen players miss their next two games due to a concussion. It will all depend on the severity of the concussion and how quickly Pickett can recover. The fact that he passed tests and was able to return for a few extra snaps suggests it may not be a severe one, but his subsequent departure is concerning. The Steelers will play the Carolina Panthers next week, followed by the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16.