Andrew Steele explains decision to return to basketball

Yesterday we had the breaking news version of this story. Now, take a look at the extended version of the Andrew Steele returns matter.

TUSCALOOSA — Moms, sometimes, are the hardest to convince.

And Linda Steele was no exception — not with her son’s health at stake. She too, came around, and gave final approval for one of the more improbable comebacks in an eventful week for the Alabama basketball program.

Her son, Andrew Steele is back on the basketball floor after doctors medically cleared the way for the surprising return after concussions appeared to end that dream. By Monday, he was back in practice and could play at 8 tonight when the Crimson Tide travels to Georgia Tech (7-6).

“The biggest thing was convincing my mom,” Steele said. “Once she was reassured, I think everybody was OK with it.”

Lingering effects from a March concussion led Steele, the younger brother of former Tide standout Ronald Steele, to hang it up in June. It was the fourth of his athletic career. The first two came as a high school football player and the third as a freshman at Alabama. The fourth one was different.

The headaches lasted a solid month, and they came and went through the summer. Memory troubles also lingered as the Alabama medical staff continued the concussion tests into the fall.

When the decision was made to end Steele’s career in June, Tide coach Anthony Grant released a statement. In it, Grant said Steele made the call with “best interest of his long term health and well-being,” and the “potential for long term consequences should he suffer another episode.”

On Monday, Steele said he was told he could “casually play” basketball by doctors at the time. Playing the high-intensity, physical brand of major college basketball created the concern for a fifth concussion.

“Never at any point was I going jeopardize my long-term health just to play. … It was one of those things I had to be really smart about,” Steele said.

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