Session expects long-term effects from concussions
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Clint Session is preparing for the worst.
After sustaining three concussions last season - including two in the same game - and spending the last seven months recovering from them, Session said Saturday that it's ''probably too late'' for him to avoid long-term effects associated with head trauma.
''I think that is probably something that is already probably going to happen,'' Session said. ''I can't control that. Probably too late for that right there.''
Session had three concussions in 2011, the first in the preseason and then two more against Cleveland on Nov. 20. He stayed in the game after the first one against the Browns and didn't tell team doctors. He was placed on injured reserve two days later.
''I kind of knew it was pretty serious, but I just figured, I wanted to win,'' Session said. ''It was a big game. We wanted to win the game. I wanted to contribute. I didn't want to just leave the game. I ended up getting another one. I couldn't stand anymore, the trauma, so I went on out of the game.''
Session reported to training camp Thursday with most of his teammates - running back Maurice Jones-Drew and first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon are holding out - but hasn't been on the field.
He declined to offer specifics about his recurring post-concussion symptoms but later said he's trying to ''manage not getting headaches.''
He is seeing two concussion specialists, one in Jacksonville and another in Pittsburgh, and has been doing ''mind exercises.''
''They're doing their best to make sure they weigh out all the options so they don't send me back too soon or I don't try to come back too soon,'' Session said. ''I think everybody is doing a great part on trying to get me back to where I need to be. I think I'm doing my best, too.''
Session is well versed on the concussion issue sweeping the NFL, including reading up on recent deaths of former NFL players Junior Seau, Ray Easterling and Dave Duerson.
Looking back, Session regrets staying in the game at Cleveland but only because it caused him to miss the rest of the season and the entire offseason.
''I don't regret any hitting and all that,'' he said. ''I do regret the concussions. It kind of comes with the game. To ask me, `Would I do that again?' I probably would be a little smarter honestly, not ignoring it. But it would probably take a lot for me to come out of the game.
''It was one of those things I kind of shook off, like a lot of players do I'm sure.''
He said he doesn't think he'd be in the position he is now had he come out of the game after the first concussion.
''It was two back-to-back traumas,'' he said. ''I guess in that regard, I do regret that. It was the same game.''
Session worked his way back for organized team activities and even did some running on the field. But once he started lifting weights and working in meeting rooms, he said the tension on his brain became too much.
''I put a lot of strain on my mind when I'm responsible for assignments, learning, teaching as well as being on the field running,'' he said. ''When I was just doing the running, it was fine. When you kind of get them both together, (it causes) a lot of strain on my mind and my brain wasn't ready for all that.''
Session called the setbacks ''very scary because you never know if it's a warning sign or what it is.'' Nonetheless, he hopes to play this season.
Although he acknowledged that taking an entire year off might be best for his recovery, he added that he ''100 percent wants to play this year.''
''There's no guy with an injury that said he don't want to play,'' he said. ''I want to play. Am I going to think about my future? Yes. I am going to think about my future when I get to the point I can make that decision. I want to play this year.''