Obviously, it sounds very serious—and it is—but interim head coach Darrell Bevell provided a little clarity on Thursday morning, noting that the issue isn’t so much with the throat, but the vocal cords.
“I think the term fractured throat has kinda been thrown out there, but really the biggest concern that we have and the concern going forward with him is really his vocal cords,” Bevell said.
Early during Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, Ragnow took a hit to his throat area. He notified some of players around him—including Matthew Stafford—he started to lose his voice, and team doctors evaluated him throughout the game, making sure it was safe for him to go out there and continue to play.
“It was important for us to continue to evaluate him through the game, including at halftime, during the game, third and fourth quarter,” Bevell said. “Really, the most important thing was his airway, how he was breathing, how he was swallowing, how he was breathing, that kind of thing. As they checked that out during the game, he was still able to function well, so he was safe to go back into the game.”
Now, the Lions want to be absolutely sure it’s safe for him to return to the game, and that begins with getting his voice back. Ragnow has been ordered by team doctors to not speak until at least Friday, and the team will re-evaluate then.
Bevell said the team is looking into everything, including possible ways to communicate without using his voice on gameday, but they are also making sure it will be a safe environment for him to play and not cause further damage to his throat and vocal cords. For now, he’s deferring that decision until specialists on Friday give him more information.
“We’re not going to put him out there if it’s not safe,” Bevell said. “We don’t want long repercussions of this for him down the road. And I don’t think he would want that, either. So we’ll take the information that we get from the specialists and go with that.”