- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 11, 2010

RENTON, WASH. (AP) - Still in his blue practice pants, leg pads and cleats, Aaron Curry, the new husband and even newer father reached to his wife. Then he picked up their young son Maxwell.

The Seahawks’ $34 million linebacker playfully hugged, kissed and lifted the smiling boy, born in October.

The scene showed off the two biggest reasons Curry was so scared on July 31.

Curry had listened all offseason as talk from Congress to kids’ leagues raised the nation’s awareness of football head injuries.

He learned about players in their 20s who sustained repeated head injuries then had memory loss or difficulty walking decades later. On the first day of Seattle’s training camp, he strode past the concussion poster the league now requires all teams to display in locker room areas.

Minutes later, he was flying around in a scrimmage as if he was a possessed man, to show his renewed level of passion following a subpar rookie season. On a pass rush, he rammed his helmet into the side of running back Justin Forsett‘s.

Just like that, Curry had a concussion.

“The day was very scary for me,” the 24-year-old Curry, last year’s fourth overall pick, said Wednesday. “All that (research) was going through my head. It was like the world was coming to an end.

“I tried hiding it from my wife and my mom. My wife wasn’t coming to practice yet, I hadn’t talked to my mom, and we are staying in the (camp) hotel, so I didn’t have to go home. I was talking to everyone like I was practicing, but then it was released in the media.

“They were both at my throat. … The only reason I didn’t tell them is because I know how they like to worry, and I like to avoid that.”

Wednesday’s practice was Curry’s first full one since the concussion. Coach Pete Carroll kept saying Curry should be back within days, but he missed nine of them.

In Seattle’s Super Bowl season of 2005, Shaun Alexander was knocked out of a division round playoff game with a concussion. The running back started the NFC championship game the following weekend.

“The NFL has done so much excellent research on concussions, but you don’t really pay it no mind until you get one,” Curry said. “You can’t disregard it, you have to accept the research they do, and the new rules. You have to accept how serious it is.

“When it comes to your brain, it’s past X’s and O’s, it’s past football. It’s about later in life. … I want to be able to have a full conversation with my kid. That was the big thing that had me scared.”

The NFL recently fired the two co-leaders of its concussion committee since 2007 and replaced them with Drs. Richard Ellenbogen and Hunt Batjer, the new co-chairmen of the NFL’s head, neck and spine medical committee.

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