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T.J. Lang of Detroit Lions — Hitting ‘reset’ despite 5 concussions

Detroit Lions Pro Bowl right guard T.J. Lang said he met with three or four head-injury specialists before returning to football following what is at least the fifth concussion of his career.

Lang, 31, suffered his latest concussion against Dallas on Sept. 30 and missed two weeks of practice before returning Wednesday. He spoke to the media Thursday after clearing the league’s protocol. He said that before he came back, he wanted to gather as much knowledge as possible about head injuries.

“Just trying to gather information on, obviously there’s a lot of studies going around about former players and whatnot, CTE stuff,” Lang said. “Just trying to gather as much information as I can. How accurate, is it being overblown in the media? Is it accurate? What’s going on? But the biggest question I had was do you guys feel safe, do you think I’ll be safe to return once I’m fully back healthy and I think most of them said yes.

“That gave me a lot of comfort knowing that, hey, when this thing is all settled and gone, then basically hit the reset button and continue to play.”

Lang acknowledged that some experts he met with “had different opinions,” but that the majority told him he would be OK to keep playing. He said he consulted with doctors and neurologists before choosing to come back.

He also had his wife, Laura, come to some of the meetings because she expressed concern about the potential long-term effects of concussions on NFL players. He also said he has thought about what his mother, wife and children think when they see him injured — and that his kids are now old enough to understand when something isn’t right with him on the field.

Lang, though, said most of the head-injury specialists told him that returning to play wouldn’t have “ramifications further down the line.”

“There were some tough conversations for sure, but it is what it is, man,” Lang said. “You got to have those conversations, really, no matter what injury you have, you’re always worried obviously if it happens again and future consequence. But I think the biggest thing was I feel like I have a lot of teammates in this locker room that are counting on me to be out there and play and play at the highest level.

“That’s something that has always driven me and will continue to drive me. I don’t know if it’s not the brightest way to look at it when you’re comparing your health, but at the same time it’s really all I know and I want to be known as a dependable guy.”

Lang acknowledged that he may use the offseason to think about his future, but right now he’s “comfortable” with his decision and he believes the benefits of returning outweigh the risks of it.

He is expected to slide back into the starting lineup, replacing Kenny Wiggins at right guard Sunday against Miami.

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