Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson is expected to return to practice on a limited basis this afternoon, still working his way back from the concussion he suffered Sept. 16 at Indianapolis. Head coach Leslie Frazier acknowledged this morning that Henderson has received clearance to go through parts of Wednesday's practice and then will receive a follow-up evaluation on Thursday.
Henderson spoke with reporters before practice Wednesday for the first time since being formally diagnosed with the concussion and acknowledged the restlessness he’s felt as he’s waited for the symptoms of his head injury to subside.
“This is a little bit different than anything I’ve ever had to deal with before in my life,” Henderson said. “Typically when you’re injured or you’re dealing with things, you attack it. You try to get better. You try to do your rehab and do whatever it takes to get back on the field. But when you’re dealing with something like this, it’s just a completely different animal, man. The biggest thing is just to rest and take your time and try to come back when you feel like you can be of help to the team and an asset and not a liability.”
Henderson believes this is the first concussion he’s ever suffered. And perhaps the strangest part of the whole ordeal was that he had to leave the field late in the Indianapolis game after coming up a bit woozy after a tackle. But Henderson returned to play in the final series of that loss and didn’t receive a formal concussion diagnosis until three days later.
“It was a little uncomfortable for me,” Henderson said. “It was a different feeling than anything I’ve ever had to deal with or whatever I’ve ever been through before. You kind of feel like you’re not really yourself. You don’t really have the same oomph you usually have, that same pizzazz that you usually have. I recognized that. But you know, I thought it was a tough game, maybe it took something out of me. Who knows? As time went on and it progressed, I just didn’t feel right.”
Henderson praised the Vikings’ coaches and training staff for the way they’ve looked after him the past two weeks. He was also forthright in acknowledging his concerns over the known long-term risks of concussions that have been brought under the NFL’s spotlight in recent years.
“It’s a tough business that we work in, a tough industry we work in,” he said. “But I’ve just got to trust and believe that we’re doing the right things and handling this the right way. And when I’m ready to be back out on the field, I’ll be back out there. And you guys will see the [number] 50 you’re used to seeing and gotten accustomed to seeing.”
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