DeSean Jackson, 9 days removed from the concussion he suffered in a horrific collision with the Falcons' Dunta Robinson, was on Comcast SportsNet's "Daily News Live" on Tuesday afternoon. It was the first interview he had done, post-concussion. In the middle of the interview, it dawned on me that Jackson had not yet been asked if he'd been knocked out on the field. Well, he said he was.
That changes things. For everyone who seems so certain that Jackson will be returning to the field for the Eagles' next game against Indianapolis (following this Sunday's bye week), I say maybe. I say maybe at best.
Much was made on Monday night of coach Andy Reid saying that Jackson had passed a concussion test. Well, after probing Jackson a little bit on DNL, it sounds as if he passed the very preliminary baseline test that is just the beginning of the stringent protocol for returning that Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder has devised. And it took 8 days for Jackson to pass that test. By comparison, after their recent concussions, quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley both passed much more quickly, in a day or 2.
Jackson was asked if he had yet been on a treadmill during the DNL interview. He said he had not, that he had just done some weight lifting so far and that he was taking it slowly because there is so much time before the next game. And that's all fine. But after passing that baseline test, there are five stages of activity tests that the player must pass, symptom-free, under Burkholder's protocol. Getting on the treadmill is the second step. This suggests Jackson is only at the start of the process.
From a column this summer in which I interviewed Burkholder:
The first phase involves easy exercise in a quiet room, with no impact. So the player rides a bicycle slowly, raising his heart level to only 30 or 40 percent of its maximum. Then he sits on a table and does leg lifts and some stretching. If he can do that and remain symptom-free for 24 hours, the player moves to the next phase. The 24 hours is required at the end of each step. If a symptom pops up, he repeats the previous step.