FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In a somber gathering with reporters this morning, defensive lineman Mike Wright discussed his health after being placed on season-ending injured reserve Thursday from sustaining multiple concussions over the last two seasons.
The seven-year veteran acknowledged that this could be a career-ending situation, but he hasn’t made that decision yet.
“Worrying about the future right now is not going to help me get better,” Wright said. “I think I’ll make that decision with the doctors and coaches after the season. Right now, my focus is just getting everything better and back to normal.”
Wright had returned to practice last Thursday and Friday and said there weren’t any setbacks during those sessions. However, he has been continuing to have trouble with the after-effects of the concussions.
He explained that the concussion he suffered last year against the Colts on Nov. 21 was a result of teammate Tully Banta-Cain making helmet-to-helmet contact. Wright was running a “game” with Banta-Cain, who made contact with the side of Wright’s helmet.
Wright explained that he previously had trouble watching television, being on the computer and reading books. The first three-and-a-half months after the concussion, in particular, were challenging.
“I still have issues with that, but it’s a lot better,” he said. “… But I have had some troubles and I think that’s why we are where we are.”
The 29-year-old Wright explained that his confidence had been rising in the offseason that he would be able to return. He felt he sufficiently tested himself in the preseason, only to sustain another concussion on a blow to the side of his head in the season opener against the Dolphins.
“I took a hit similar to last year, but not as severe,” he explained. “It kind of triggered a few things and turned into a little bit more than what I thought it was at the time.”
As recently as a few weeks ago, he was planning to return to action.
“I felt like I was going to be ready,” he said, adding that he plans to remain around the team. “[But] based off my concussion history and coaches and doctors and trainers looking out for me and my best interests and my health, it was just the right decision to do what we did [going on injured reserve]. I did not want to go on IR. It’s the last thing I wanted to do. I was really looking forward to being part of this team this year. There are a lot of great players in there that I wanted to continue to play with, but that’s not in the cards.”
Wright was asked if he had a message for young players about concussions.
“Pushing through getting hit on the field and being dizzy is not normal,” he responded. “Your brain is extremely important. You have no idea what your brain has to process to even stand up out of a chair. I think it's great what the NFL is doing now to educate everyone. I think kids and high school players can learn a lot, and they need to keep their ears open, and they need to look out for the other guys on the field. Football is a game of toughness and some guys feel like minor pain or minor dizziness is OK. But it's not. When it comes to your brain, it's very, very serious. It's nothing to play with.”