As we all know, on Tuesday Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard passed his concussion test and was cleared to play. In the previous week, Garrard failed his test on Friday and again on Saturday. Passing his test however, does not guarantee he will be the starter this week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jack Del Rio was asked on Monday if there was any question Garrard would be the starter as long as he passed his concussion test. "It shouldn't be as long as he remembers the snap count and how to throw the football," said Del Rio.
"I'm back as far as I know myself. I have more tests that I have to do tomorrow but once I pass those then everything will be good. Everything really kind of faded away about Saturday, I really started feeling like my normal self on Saturday. Yesterday I felt pretty good, I got a little work out in in my neighborhood and today I got another workout in so I feel good," David Garrard said about how he feels on Monday.
Passing the concussion test and being cleared to play is just one piece of the puzzle for David Garrard. He's still got to show in practice today he's not still feeling any of the effects of the concussion. Concussion symptoms can linger well past passing the test to be medically cleared.
"I felt good going in on Friday somewhat. My memory has really never been a problem for me so it's not a memory thing. It was really just a cloud coverage thing. It wasn't partly cloudy, it wasn't semi‐cloudy, it was a total cloud coverage. But now I feel great, I feel like my normal self," Garrard said on Monday.
As Jack Del Rio mentioned, Garrard will need to demonstrate in practice that the cloud coverage is totally gone. If he struggles in practice this afternoon, don't be surprised to see a delay in naming Garrard the starter. It's a pivotal game this weekend that could swing the season to either 4-4 and manageable or 3-5 and nearly lost. Coupling with the loss of Eben Britton at right tackle and going against two pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, Del Rio has to be sure David Garrard is ready to go. It's been a full week since Garrard's concussion, but if the offensive protection is going to be questionable and Garrard is struggling in practice it might be in Del Rio's, Garrard's, and the team's best interest to go with another quarterback.
I fully expect David Garrard to be named the starter once again and to play on Sunday, but keep the above in mind. You're more susceptibile to concussions the few weeks following a concussion. Some doctors believe that you are three times more likely to suffer another concussion after suffering your first one.
The increased susceptibility for a second concussion also comes down to brain chemistry. A concussion causes chemical changes in your brain, which leave the brain unbalanced and more prone to damage for up to a year, said David Hovda, director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"I got my family that's looking forward to me coming home everyday. I love this game but I'm not going to put my life out there in danger for it." said David Garrard.