After leaving Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens with a concussion, Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater now has to clear the NFL’s five-step return-to-participation protocol.
In Phase 1, Bridgewater will primarily rest, with limited stretching and balance training permitted. Once he’s cleared for Phase 2, Bridgewater can begin “graduated cardiovascular exercise” followed by “dynamic stretching and balance training.”
In Phase 3, Bridgewater will be permitted to participate “in sport-specific exercise for 30 minutes or less with ongoing and careful monitoring.” Once he graduates to Phase 4, Bridgewater can begin non-contact football activities.
Once he’s been cleared for full-contact training in Phase 5, Bridgewater will then undergo an examination from an independent neurological consultant. “If the INC concurs with the Club physician that the player’s concussion has resolved, he may participate in his Club’s next practice or game,” according to the league’s protocol.
Bridgewater must be symptom free to advance through each phase of the protocol.
There’s no specific timeline for passing each step of the protocol, so if Bridgewater makes progress quickly, he could return in time for next week’s road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every concussion is different, though, so it’s impossible to predict how quickly Bridgewater will recover.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio indicated on Sunday evening that Bridgewater was already starting to feel a little better.
“I just saw him and he says he’s getting better as the day goes on, so we’ll see,” Fangio said following a 23-7 loss to the Ravens.
If Bridgewater is not able to play this weekend, Drew Lock will start in his place against the Steelers.
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