“If it’s a sprained ankle or if it’s a sore whatever, you can kind of see the symptoms and know what’s going on and know how you feel,” Keenum said. “With your head, if I were to ask you 1,000 times in a row if your head hurts, it’s probably going to hurt after about 500 times of someone asking if it hurts. It’s hard to tell, especially with something like that.”
Keenum suffered the concussion late in the Rams’ road game against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 23. He took a hit on a play that would be nullified by an offsides infraction.
Two plays later, he was hit and fumbled, with the Ravens’ fumble recovery leading to the deciding field goal in a 16-13 victory.
“I remember everything,” Keenum said. “I remember the play itself. Kind of a funky play, jumped offsides. I remember looking downfield and not throwing it. Obviously, not a great decision there. Trying to find my check down and he was eaten up, so I was just trying to get rid of the ball. Kind of got slammed and got shaken up a little bit.”
Rams head trainer Reggie Scott came out to check on Keenum while the officials sorted out the penalty.
“After I got up, Reggie came over and I was good,” Keenum said. “He told me to go down on a knee and I told him, ‘I’m good, I’m good.’ I went to the play. Got the play from the coach, went and called the next play and felt good to go.”
Keenum did not pass the concussion protocol before the Rams’ next game, a 31-7 road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Nick Foles started that game at quarterback and again the following week, a 27-3 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals, after Keenum passed the protocol but missed most of the week of practice.
Now he’s back and ready to lead the Rams (4-8) against the Lions (4-8). Keenum had his troubles in his first start, before the concussion, but Rams coach Jeff Fisher has stuck with him as his starting quarterback.
“It means a tremendous amount,” Keenum said. “I love Coach Fisher, want to fight for him. To have the opportunity like this, obviously it’s a tough part of the season, but honestly, I’m not looking at what’s happened. I’m not looking ahead, I’m looking at today and how did practice today go. Grade myself on film today. What can I do to be better today in this next meeting here in 15 minutes? And then I’m going to go home and rest and do it against tomorrow.
“Take it one day at a time and then taking it this week a time. The Detroit Lions, what can we do to win this week? It’s a dream come true for me to be a starting quarterback in the NFL since I was five or six or seven years old in second grade and I told my teacher I wanted to be an NFL quarterback. She kind of said, ‘Well, OK, Case.’ Well, I get to do that this week and there’s not many people that have ever gotten to do that, so I’m not taking it lightly.”