Tests to determine Tebow's return

Updated: September 30, 2009, 2:03 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Florida trainers have determined that the concussion Tim Tebow sustained Saturday night at Kentucky was the first of his career.

Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, took balance and memory tests on Tuesday that coach Urban Meyer said were key to determining a timeline for his return. Meyer went through the tests with his star quarterback.

Meyer said Tebow still has a headache and isn't allowed to watch television or read. So there's no studying a playbook or checking out tape of top-ranked Florida's next opponent, LSU on Oct. 10.

Tebow was at the Gators' football facility on Tuesday, but he did not practice. Meyer saw Tebow later that evening and said he "looked terrific."

"It's the best I've seen him look," Meyer said on a SEC teleconference call Wednesday.

Meyer said Tebow understands the severity of his brain injury.

"This isn't a turf toe or a shoulder," Meyer said. "This is a concussion. He's a grown man, so he's going to take care of himself. I'm very proud of the way he's handled it."

In June, Tebow and all of Florida's players underwent baseline testing. The data from that test will help doctors determine when Tebow has sufficiently recovered from his concussion and can resume physical activities.

In baseline testing, before suffering a concussion, an athlete takes a 20-minute computerized test that measures brain processing, speed, memory and visual motor skills to establish baseline data. After a concussion, the athlete is retested and the results are compared to help determine his or her status.

Many top college football programs have begun baseline testing, including obtaining balance and equilibrium standards, to help diagnose the severity of concussions and determine when it's safe for players to return.

According to Tebow's high school coach, he did not suffer a concussion during his prep playing career.

Meyer and Tebow went through some of the tests together.

"I was in the room with the doctors because I wanted to see it," Meyer said. "I always hear about the baseline. It's interesting how that's evolved over the years, so I sat and watched it. ... You put your feet together, you hold your hand on your hips, you raise on one foot, those kind of things."

Tebow spent Saturday night in a Lexington, Ky., hospital after his helmet struck teammate Marcus Gilbert's leg as he was being sacked. Tebow was slammed to the ground and lay motionless as teammates and trainers rushed to him.

Tebow eventually sat up with help and slowly made his way off the field. He started vomiting on the sideline -- a common symptom of concussions -- and was carted off the field.

He spent the night at the University Medical Center in Lexington -- with Meyer and his parents at his side. He was released Sunday morning, then flew back to Gainesville. Meyer said they passed the time watching football and talking about Saturday's 41-7 victory over the Wildcats.

Meyer said Tuesday that Tebow probably would have been pulled from the lopsided game following that drive. Some have questioned why Tebow was still in the game with the Gators leading 31-7.

"Ultimately, it's my call," Meyer said. "If we go in and score right there, I think we do yank him out of the game. But you also want to make sure you secure the game."

Meyer said there is no timetable for getting Tebow back on the practice field. He also made it clear that Tebow could miss practice this week and next and still start the team's next game.

"You have to earn that right, and obviously the left-handed quarterback's earned that right," Meyer said.

Several teammates, including cornerback Joe Haden and linebacker Ryan Stamper, said they were surprised by how much attention Tebow's injury has received.

"I think the media is kind of blowing it out of proportion," Stamper said. "Again, the hit and how he was, I can't really say I blame them. ... But when we found out it was a concussion, everyone gets concussions. Stuff like that happens. I guess because it happened to him everyone is blowing it up, but I think he'll be fine."

Information from ESPN reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE