Mike Wright is just trying to get ‘everything better and back to normal’
|10.14.11 at 1:24 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Sporting a gray alternate Reds baseball cap, Cincinnati native Mike Wright spoke with great articulation and emotion about an injury all too common in the sports world today, an injury that has ended his season and put his professional football career in serious question.
Wright was placed on season-ending injured reserve by the Patriots on Thursday, after a second concussion in 10 months made it only sensible to let his brain heal and see where he can go afterward.
‘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.’
This is a proud man who still has trouble doing simple things like watching TV and reading a computer screen because of the effect flashing lights and processing millions of bits of information at once places on his brain.
‘I still have issues with that, but it’s a lot better,’ Wright told reporters Friday. “But I have had some troubles and I think that’s why we are where we are.”
Wright, who was staring into the bright lights of TV cameras during his 12-minute session Friday, said he is relieved that so much attention is being paid to concussions in the NFL, and sports in general, given what he’s learned about brain injuries.
‘Pushing through getting hit on the field and being dizzy is not normal. 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.’
Wright originally sustained a concussion last Nov. 21 against the Colts when he and teammate Tully Banta-Cain collided. Wright missed the final six regular season games and the playoff loss to the Jets.
The 29-year-old, seventh-year pro out of the University of Cincinnati said he felt good in the offseason and was looking forward to returning this season. He missed some time in the preseason and camp, not related to his concussion but then got hit in the side of the head in the first week against the Dolphins.
‘I took a hit similar to last year, but not as severe,’ Wright said. ‘It kind of triggered a few things and turned into a little bit more than what I thought it was at the time.’
Wright said he plans to stay around the team and can do things like lift weights and run to keep his heart rate up and his conditioning at a good level, should he be ready to come back in 2012.
Wright added he thought he was going to be able to come back this season, after practicing with the team before the Jets game last week. But then he sat down with doctors and team staff and the decision was made to be safe rather than sorry with his brain.
‘I felt like I was going to be ready,’ he said. ‘[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.’