FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Mike Wright's season ended prematurely due to a concussion for the second straight year Thursday, when the New England Patriots placed the veteran defensive lineman on injured reserve.
His campaign to educate players from pee-wee to the pros, however, is just beginning.
Wright, who missed the final seven games last season after dealing with the debilitating effects of his first concussion, suffered his second serious blow to the head in the Patriots' season-opening win over the Miami Dolphins.
The 29-year-old eventually returned to practice for two days last week, participating in a limited capacity with the goal of playing again in the next few weeks. Then the difficult decision was rendered to end his season -- again.
"I felt like I was going to be ready. Based off my concussion history and the coaches and doctors and trainers looking out for me and my best interest and my health, it was just the right decision to do what we did," Wright said Friday. "I did not want to go on IR. It's the last thing I wanted to do. I was really looking forward to being a part of this team this year and there's a lot of great players in there that I wanted to continue to play with. But that's not in the cards."
With a renewed respect for concussions and the problems they pose in everyday life, Wright is hoping his cautionary tale reaches not just kids, but also his teammates.
"Pushing through getting hit on the field and being dizzy is not normal. Your brain is extremely important. You have no idea what your brain has to process to even stand up out of a chair," Wright said. "I think it's great what the NFL's doing now to educate everyone, but I think kids and high school players can learn a lot and they need to keep their ears open and they need to look out for the other guys on the field because football is a game of toughness and some guys feel like minor pain or minor dizziness is OK, but it's not.
"When it comes to your brain, it's very, very serious and it's nothing to play with."
Wright discovered that the hard way.
It took him roughly 3½ months to recover from his first concussion last season. Watching television triggered a motion-sickness feeling. Using the computer caused dizziness. Reading became a chore.
"You're just basically trying to relax your brain most of the day to let it heal," Wright explained, adding he still experiences similar issues. "At the same time, anxiety comes with that. When you're not able to do those things your mind just wanders, and as you know, it just goes all over the place."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press