Thursday marked the first time T.J. Lang was a full participant in practice since he suffered a scary-looking concussion against the Dallas Cowboys. The concussion suffered that Sunday was at least the fifth of his career, and many questioned whether it was worth it for the 31-year-old to return to football at all.
Lang, apparently, had a lot of questions of his own. The offensive lineman told reporters on Thursday that he spent the bye week with his wife visiting multiple medical specialists to discuss his situation and his future in football.
“The guys here, the trainers, doctors, everybody that’s really involved in my personal life did a good job setting me up with high-end experts and doctors and neurologists that I could talk to,” Lang said. “I reached out to a lot of them and tried to gather as much information as I could. I would say that most of those conversations were positive.”
The goal, Lang said, was to get as much information about CTE—the medical condition that has affected a large amount of players in their post-playing career and has been linked to concussions—and quantify the long-term risk of returning to football.
“The biggest question I had was, ‘Do you guys think I’ll be safe to return once I’m fully back healthy,’ and I think most of them said, ‘Yeah.’”
Lang admits, though, that not every medical professional recommended a return to football.
“A few of them had different opinions, but for the most part it was, ‘I think you’ll be fine to play. I don’t think there’ll be ramifications further down the line if you continue to play.’ There were some tough conversations, for sure, but it is what it is.”
Lang says he currently feels fine, and the injury report suggests that he’s trending towards playing this week against the Dolphins. Although it appears the medical professionals weren’t unanimous in recommending his return, Lang said the conversations he had were enough to give him peace of mind in his return to football.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to try to make a conscious, educated decision,” Lang said. “I think I gathered enough information to feel comfortable to continue to play when I’m feeling good.”