- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Given the numerous headlines generated by concussions, and the recent settlement reached by the NFL and its former players, it was interesting to hear Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett and defensive tackle Henry Melton discuss recovery from their latest setbacks.
Both suffered concussions, and recently were cleared by the team to return to the field. Neither seemed too concerned about the long-term effects concussions might have on their lives after football.
In describing their symptoms, both talked about a lingering headache that took a while to subside.
“Yeah, [the symptoms] were lingering a bit longer than usual, than I expected. But those things, you just have to wait them out and let them clear,” Bennett said. “I’ve been symptom-free for a couple days now. It’s a little bit scary seeing the past players, and they just had the settlement. It’s kind of concerning, but at the same time, when I signed up for this game, I knew what I was signing up for. The technology nowadays is a lot better than it was back then.”
Bennett suffered a concussion on Aug. 3 during a night practice at Soldier Field, when he was clocked by safety Chris Conte. The day before, during a red zone drill at training camp, Conte delivered a hard blow to Bennett, and the receiver was slow to get up off the turf.
Let’s not forget Bennett missed two games recovering from a concussion suffered last December against the Seattle Seahawks.
Asked whether he was concerned about the latest concussion, Bennett said: “I just wanted to make sure that everything was alright. I saw several specialists, and they reassured me that everything’s alright. I’ll be fine.”
For Bennett to say the symptoms from the latest concussion “were lingering a bit longer than usual,” seems a little concerning, as does the fact he “had trouble sleeping for a while” after the injury.
Melton described his concussion as “just a headache that kind of wouldn’t go away,” adding that his “neck was a little sore. I got hit. It knocked me out a little bit. I’m back.” The defensive tackle also said the concussion he suffered in the preseason opener at Carolina was the first of his career.
Melton considers the modern-day NFL much more aware of the potential effects of concussions than it was in the past, which leads to a more extensive recovery process for players who suffer concussions.
“The protocol is really in-depth,” Melton said. “You’ve got to see multiple people. There are a lot of people that had their hand in making sure I was 100 percent.”