Justin Pugh was back practicing with the Giants yesterday, a welcome sight for Tom Coughlin and the Giants, who need their first round pick back at work with the preseason nearly half over. Coughlin said Pugh had no issues and took some time to explain the injury and the process.
“The first day that it happened I was asked a question if it was ‘one of those.’ No, it wasn’t an iffy thing,” the coach explained. “He had a headache and he was a little bit nauseous, so that was the direction he was headed in. There wasn’t any question. So whether it was back in the 80s or now, those symptoms like that would have been recognized and the player would have been out. Now, did we have all these protocols? I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the medical people. But we didn’t get him back until those things cleared, even back in those days. The sun bothering them, the headaches, the light issues, the balance issues; when a guy was free from those types of things, then he was back on the field. But today there’s a very rigid protocol and they have to pass it all. If it lingers, there’s other things that have to be stressed. There’s always a possibility of another doctor being involved. So it’s a very sound precaution for people that have had that. The one thing that bothers us in this is that when you look at something that doesn’t look violent, and you have those kinds of symptoms. It scares the heck out of you as a coach. These things happen. They happen in the most unusual of ways sometimes.”
Yesterday Pugh worked with the second and third team at left tackle. Before his injury, he was working mainly at RT. This is all part of the training. Pugh came in here as a well-rounded, versatile prospect and the Giants are going to be working him everywhere. He spoke to the media before practice yesterday…
Justin Pugh Transcript 8.12.13
T Justin Pugh
August 12, 2013
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good, I feel great. I mean I got cleared by all the doctors, I went through all the protocol, so I’m good to go, practicing today.
Q: Is it scary?
A: First time I ever had a concussion, so I didn’t really know what it was all about. The doctors here did a great job handling everything and I’m symptom-free so it’s been good for me now.
Q: How did it happen?
A: It was on a hit. I was pulling around and I hit someone head to head, it was the first time I ever experienced that kind of headache so I knew something was up and went through the proper protocol for that.
Q: How bad was it?
A: The headaches were pretty bad and it was a little nausea, it got better each day. You have to go through a variety of different steps once it happens; I wasn’t really aware of it. The medical staff did a great job of helping me out, going to be back to 100%.
Q: Do you talk to a guy like Chris Snee at all, guys who have been through it, just for any advice and how to manage it?
A: Yeah, they all say you basically have to wait till the headache goes away, there’s nothing really you can do. You can’t really go out there and workout or rehab it. It’s just kind of resting it, and it’s something where they told me to keep my head up. I don’t really worry about it. Obviously I wanted to still be in there in the meetings, and once I was able to, I was sitting in the meetings, so it worked out, it worked out well, and I’m back today and couldn’t be happier.
Q: When you miss time like that, obviously if it’s a leg, or an arm or something like that, you can still be sharp in the meetings, but when it’s your head and you can’t really focus… how do you keep up and not fall too far behind on the classroom stuff?
A: You know, just getting back in there now, getting ready to get after it. I only missed, I think, two days in the meeting room and I was able to come back in and get that stuff working. So obviously you lose out on two days of film which is crucial but to get back in there and spend a little extra time now to get back to where you should be.
Q: Was it a knee to head or-
A: No, it was a head to head. I pulled around; I forgot who I hit.
Q: Headaches and nausea were the two main symptoms?
A: Yeah, I mean you have some sensitivity to noise and light but that kind of subsided after the first couple of days.
Q: How much do you think this did set you back (…)
A: Obviously missing the reps, that’s something that’s big. I wish I could get those back but right now I’ve just got to go out there and play. I really can’t control that now.
Q: Missing the game hurt, I imagine?
A: Oh yeah definitely, I mean when I had to sit home and I couldn’t even travel with the team and had to watch, that was definitely something that definitely hurt me but getting back out there today, I’ve got a big smile on my face. I’m ready to go.
Q: When you have an injury like that, in the back of your mind does it kind of force you to adjust your technique so that it doesn’t happen again or is it just one of those things?
A: You know it’s something that’s part of the game, you’ve got to keep your head out of it and play heads up football, so it’s something where I know when I go out there, make sure you’re conscious using your hands and when you’re going down field and going after guys in the secondary where there is a lot more room for that, you’ve got to make sure you’re using the proper technique.
Q: Do you feel like you can make up the time pretty quickly?
A: Yeah definitely.
Q: In what ways?
A: We’ve done things with the veterans, helping us out and then taking some quizzes and stuff and getting extra work in; every day we stay a little bit extra in our meeting rooms, the younger guys, to make sure we’re where we need to be, and then going out there today and getting those reps. I know we’ve got some other guys banged up so I’ll be able to get more reps today than I would have normally.
Q: When you woke up this morning, just describe what your state of mind was, knowing, when you came to the facility, you were going to be working?
A: I mean I was excited, I was excited to get back in here and be with the guys because sometimes when you’re injured, you don’t get to do everything with the offensive line and you’ll be sitting on the side or riding the bikes, so it’ll be good today to go out there and actually be in the drills with my teammates.
Q: That was a crazy day, that was like the first day you took first team reps too, right?
A: Yeah, it was the first day, first day I was able to go out there, so obviously that hurt but definitely I’m past that now. I’m ready to get back out there and be with my teammates.
Q: Did you have to kind of go through a period of frustration or anger that something set you back because you’re so excited as a rookie to take advantage of being their top pick. Was there a period of frustration that you had to manage?
A: Definitely those first couple days when I couldn’t even be in the facility, I had to be back at the hotel, you kind of are like, I feel like I’m letting everyone down by being out, but it’s the right thing and I know the way the NFL is handling concussions now you have to make sure that you’re held accountable and you tell somebody because it’s a major thing.