Doug Rigg Plans Return for Maryland Game After Concussion - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Doug Rigg Plans Return for Maryland Game After Concussion

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MORGANTOWN -

Doug Rigg found out firsthand just how lethal Karl Joseph can be when he hits another player. Just an accidental collision from his fellow West Virginia defender sent Rigg to the ground and out of consciousness with a concussion and now the senior linebacker is acutely aware of what it's like to be on the receiving end of that blow.

"I think I might be on his highlight tape," Rigg said of Joseph. "I see why he hurt the guy from Texas last year. The guy can hit. The guy's pretty good."

Rigg can laugh about it now, but when the hit occurred, it was not an amusing moment. He hit the ground and was "out cold," as his head coach put it later that night. The senior, one of the team's leaders, lay on the field in Oklahoma as his teammates surrounded him, praying that he was not paralyzed from the hit he took.

"When I got hit, everything really just went black," Rigg recalled. "It didn't even feel like I was out. It just went black and I remember Dave [Kerns, WVU's athletic trainer] over me, trying to wake me up. They told me I was out for 30 seconds. I didn't know at all. It felt like I literally just got hit and somebody was talking to me. That's all I really can remember."

While Rigg may have only seen the athletic training staff standing over him as he came to, the rest of the stadium saw each of the other Mountaineers crowded around, many on a knee or with a hand on another teammate, but all focused on No. 47 lying on the turf.

He saw a photo of the moment some time later and didn't realize at first that the scene he was looking at was all a result of his own injury.

"I was like, ‘Oh, man, that's a great pic. When were we ever on a knee together like that?' And I was like, wait a minute. I looked close and saw the trainers were around somebody and I was like, ‘Hey, that's me!'" said Rigg.

With such a scene, and very little information to go off of from the television broadcast or the media who were at the game, there was real reason for concern from those who witnessed the injury or were watching from home. Rigg was taken off on a cart, strapped to a headboard with his facemask removed and his helmet stabilized.

It was proper protocol for a head or neck injury, even if just a precautionary measure. But Rigg wanted to make sure anyone who could see him was able to tell he wasn't paralyzed, as he knew from the moment the trainers began to ask him to move his extremities.

"When they strapped me up, they actually loosened up one strap and they said, ‘Give a wave to the crowd,'" said Rigg. "Once I gave the wave, I think I heard a breath of relief from a lot of people when they realized, hey, he can move. He's not paralyzed or anything. A lot of people back at home told me, too, that if I didn't wave, they'd have been a lot more afraid."

Still, not everyone caught that wave, and while Dana Holgorsen assured reporters after the game that Rigg had movement, the concern would not be alleviated until the player himself was able to reach out and tell what happened.

In the meantime, Rigg's phone was blowing up. He received countless phone calls, text messages and interaction on social media as friends, family and fans all asked how he was. When he finally left the local hospital and rejoined the Mountaineers for their flight back to West Virginia, he got a chance to respond to those who were wishing him well.

"I saw Twitter and Facebook and I saw a ridiculous amount of people asking if I was okay and text messages from people saying they're not going to bed until they hear from me," he said. "I knew there was no way I could respond back to everybody in general. I knew that people were on social media at the time, it wasn't too ridiculously late, so I decided to just get a message on both so anybody could see it."

Now Rigg is focused on the recovery process. He says he must show no concussion symptoms for three days without football activities and once he's done that, he can take a concussion test and begin working to get back on the field.

His plan is to make it back in time to join the Mountaineers in Baltimore when they take on the Maryland Terrapins, a team he enjoyed a touchdown against last season in Morgantown.

The fact that he is right now thinking about how he'll get onto the field again within two weeks of his injury is terrific news given the grim nature of the scene on Owen Field this past Saturday. 

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