QB Concussion Update: Clarifying the Statuses of Cutler, Vick, Smith

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QB Concussion Update: Clarifying the Statuses of Cutler, Vick, Smith
John Gress/Getty Images

Concussions.  Perhaps you have heard of them.

As of now, the statuses of quarterbacks Jay Cutler of the Bears, Alex Smith of the 49ers and Michael Vick of the Eagles for Week 12 remain unclear.

Before returning to play, the NFL requires players to pass multiple steps of medical testing.

These steps, each 24 hours long, are as follows:

1.  Concussion symptoms completely resolve and remain resolved for 24 consecutive hours.
2.  Symptoms do not return with light activity such as swimming or biking.
3.  Symptoms do not return with sport-specific activity such as running for football and skating for hockey.
4.  Symptoms do not return with participation in non-contact practice.
5.  Symptoms do not return with participation in full contact practice.

Additionally, the NFL requires medical clearance by an independent neurologist.

Upon completion of the fifth and final step, players can return to competitive play.

However, if symptoms return during any step, the player must be rested for 24 hours and resume the process at one step lower than when he began to re-experience symptoms.

With that in mind, let's look at each starting QB's individual progress toward returning to the field.

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