There were dozens of storylines heading into last Sunday's game with the Packers. Buried among them was Husain Abdullah, who won the starting safety job in training camp. He wouldn't be starting against Green Bay, scratched because of post-concussion symptoms.
There were several emotions running through his mind in the days leading up to the Green Bay showdown. Anger. Frustration. Confusion. The latter was decidedly more problematic because, while he was showing the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, he didn't know how it came about in the first place.
"I don't really even know the play it happened on," Abdullah said. "I know it was early in the Dallas game, but I didn't really feel anything bad until about halftime. We looked back on film to see if there were any really big hits that could have caused and it we didn't see anything obvious. There was a play where I was in a pile and they think it happened there but who knows? I'm not even sure."
Abdullah said the daily testing was promising, but never completely gave him a clean bill of health. He said he was informed last Friday that he wouldn't be active for the Packers game because he couldn't be given full clearance.
"There was some sadness there," Abdullah said. "I worked hard to get the starting spot and having it taken away, especially in a big game like Green Bay, that hurt. I wanted to play, but was told that it would be in everyone's best interests – me in the short-term and our team in the long-term for the season – for me to give it one more week."
It was foreign territory for Abdullah, who has very little history with concussions. The only prior concussion he had been diagnosed with came in 2007 while at Washington State. Even then, it was deemed as mild – if there is such a thing as a mild concussion.
"I had one my senior year of college," Abdullah said. "It wasn't viewed as very serious and I was back in the practice field the following week. I haven't had something like this before – a concussion that caused me to miss time on the field."
Despite the personal frustration, Abdullah acknowledged that the league is learning much more about the long-term impact of multiple concussions and, through the testimonials of players from decades past – those suffering from Alzheimer's-type symptoms to the stories of those who took their own lives as a result of constant debilitating pain. While he was willing to risk his health to play, he said he appreciates the protocols the league has installed to protect players, even if it hurts their teams in the short-term.
"It's a good thing for players," Abdullah said. "It's getting a lot of attention now and it's actually good to see that teams are looking at the long-term health that could be affected rather than the short-term of getting a player back on the field."
He said the process was pretty standard from day to day – take a battery of tests, hope for improvement and wait for the results.
"They ask you all the different questions," Abdullah said. "You take the impact test, the memory test, the reflexes test – all those things. If you pass those, you go out and try. At that point, you have be honest with them and let them know if you can go."
Abdullah is expected to reclaim his starting job Sunday against the Patriots but said his unexpected, unwanted time off is something he has come to appreciate. He didn't at first, but, as he gets ready to take on Tom Brady and the multifaceted Patriots offense, he said he has learned a valuable life lesson through his recent struggle.
"I wanted to play against Green Bay because of how important the game was for us in the division," Abdullah said. "At the same time, you want to look out for your long-term health. My situation the last couple of weeks has helped put life in perspective."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Abdullah eager to play after concussion
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