Browns cornerback Joe Haden has had a particularly rough season, having suffered numerous injuries early on and then two concussions that have kept him off the field since Week 8. On the latest episode of the Browns’ official podcast, Haden talked to host Max Linsky about what it’s like to try and come back from a concussion.
The concussion talk begins about 27 minutes in:
Haden says he’d never had a concussion before this year, and is very honest about how frightening it is to deal with something like that for the first time:
I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life... You know, I’m an active guy, like I felt like I was kind of good, but when I [got] hit I knew I wasn’t. So it’s scary. It scared me, scared my wife, it scared my parents.
Haden goes on to describe how frustrating it is to not be allowed to play because of an injury that you can’t see. You can hear his voice cracking and his emotions welling up as he talks about not wanting people to question his heart or desire to play.
Plenty of former players have talked openly about their experiences with concussions, but this is a rare, honest glimpse at the experience of a current player trying to come back from the injury. Listening to Haden, you get the sense that a concussion—an injury that doesn’t come with a clear timetable for recovery—wears on a player emotionally as much as it does physically.
Haden told Linsky that his season is officially over, but that he hopes to be back on the field next year.