Kitna says Lions followed proper precautions before he returned to game

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna expected
people to snicker and laugh when they heard his explanation for his
comeback against Minnesota after getting knocked out of the game
with a concussion.

"It was a miracle," Kitna said Monday.

Kitna left the game in the second quarter, returned in the
fourth and led the Lions to a 20-17 win over the Vikings in
overtime on Sunday.

He said it was the third concussion of his NFL career, and the
first since 2001. Kitna said he also had a concussion playing for
Seattle against San Francisco in a 1997 preseason game.

"I've never felt anything like that, and for it to clear up and
go right back to as normal as I can be, is nothing short of a
miracle," Kitna said. "I just definitely feel the hand of God.
That's all it was. You can't explain it.

"I have no headaches, no symptoms, no lingering effects. But
that was the worst my head has ever felt, and the worse my memory
was in the second quarter. Yet, after halftime there was nothing."

The NFL recently announced new guidelines on dealing with
concussions, including creating a telephone hotline to make it
easier to report when a player with a head injury is being forced
to practice or play against medical advice.

Concussions have become an increasingly high priority for
Roger Goodell and team officials in the past year.

"It's about players' safety, and it's good," Lions coach Rod
Marinelli said.

Kitna said the team's medical staff followed proper procedures,
evaluating him with several questions and by shining a light toward
his eyes. The team cleared him to play in the third quarter and he
came back in the fourth.

"They did exactly what they're supposed to do, and that's why I
didn't push it very hard because I knew how touchy of a subject it
is in the league right now," Kitna said. "Finally in the fourth
quarter, basically I said, 'I don't have anything. I'm as clear as
I was when the game started."'

He was knocked out of the game in the second quarter and
appeared to be out for the rest of the day, standing on the
sideline without a helmet.

"I was out of it. I didn't know anything. I lost coherence,"
Kitna said. "It's one of those things, you shouldn't even been
able to go back in the game, but it went back to normal and cleared
up like it never happened."

After saying he knew who he was during the game, a reporter
asked Kitna if he knew where he was.

"Barely," he said.

Kitna passed a follow-up examination Monday morning.

"He's fine," Marinelli said. "He didn't have any symptoms, no

Marinelli said it was up to the doctors -- who said Kitna had a
"very" mild concussion -- to walk the fine line between listening
to Kitna and protecting him.

"They were overly cautious and they went through everything
they're supposed to do," Marinelli said. "Even when Jon wanted to
come back, they held him down until they were convinced and felt
good about it."

Kitna ran the ball twice on the final possession, taking even
more hits, and led a game-winning drive when Detroit trailed or was
tied for the third straight game, including a win last season at

"It was a courageous effort," offensive tackle George Foster