Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel sheepishly admitted Thursday that his Twitter justification for doing difficult math problems two days after suffering a concussion isn’t as easily provable as the mathematic proofs he was working on at the time.
Last week, before Urschel returned from what amounted to nearly two weeks out with a concussion suffered Aug. 6, coach John Harbaugh relayed that he had had to remind his players that certain things were off limits for players in the concussion protocol.
“You’re told when you get a concussion not to listen to certain things, not to read certain things, not to study certain things, not to do some certain things that might hurt the concussion part of the brain there,” Harbaugh said last Tuesday. “So, my man goes out the second day afterwards and does high-level math problems just to see where he’s at."
He continued: “I’m going to tell the guys tonight in the meeting, ‘Listen, guys, for all you guys that may get a little concussion issue … You want to go out and do the high-level math? You want to do those trigonomic [sic], algebraic equations? We’re putting an end to that right now on our team. We’ll have no more of that.’”
Moments after Harbaugh's comments were posted online, Urschel tweeted, “FACT: Advanced math helps the brain heal after a concussion.”
“I don't know if it helps recovery,” Urschel said with a smile. “I just made that up. People were tweeting at me like, 'That’s so insightful, John.'"
Harbaugh was right, though. Urschel, who was working on his second doctorate by the time he was finished with football at Penn State and is a multiple-time published author in math and science journals, did test himself out early after the concussion.
Urschel said: “Did I try to do math? Of course I did. There were many ill effects. I was not feeling too hot after that, after trying to do math with a concussion.”
Of his two loves, the effects of his injury are clear on only one.
“[I’m] back to football capacity, though, and one of those two things pays me — pays my bills. The math capacity will come. At least the one that pays for my housing, my food, my girlfriend, my car — this is the important one.”
Urschel was coy on what his role was going to be Saturday against the Washington Redskins, but considering he says he’s fully healthy and walked off the field Thursday with starters Marshal Yanda and Jeremy Zuttah as the reserves did extra work with offensive line coach Juan Castillo, Urschel is a good bet to start at left guard for Kelechi Osemele (Achilles).
And given Urschel’s jest on something as serious as a concussion, it’s fair to assume his tweet about the disrespect of the team depicting him as the Incredible Hulk on its website isn’t earnest either. Then again, I don’t want to see him angry.