WASHINGTON — For a couple months in 2011, it looked like D.C. United midfielder Santino Quaranta had played his last game of the season.
After suffering a concussion picked up in training, the veteran was addled with the lingering effects of post-concussion syndrome, and could do very little to figure out how to get better.
"That was a tough period for me because I didn't know what was going on, and all of a sudden, you start to turn a corner one day," he told MLSsoccer.com. "I can't explain it, it's hard."
That turn came in August, and Quaranta returned to the starting lineup on Aug. 6 after nearly three months on the shelf.
But because of the nature of the game he returned in — a hectic 3-3 draw against Toronto FC where goalkeeper Bill Hamid picked up a red card in the game's first 10 minutes — Quaranta slugged his way through a full game and was able to jump right back into the swing of things.
"I was out for so many months and then came back and played 100 minutes that game," he said. "I didn't really think about it and I was just getting back into it. That game was good for me because you start to forget about it."
That grueling game against Toronto turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Quaranta's fitness was brought all the way back in one fell swoop, and he went on to make 11 more appearances on the season, filling in for Chris Pontius after the third-year midfielder broke his ankle in September.
Concussion problems aside, the season was always going to be a unique and interesting one for Quaranta playing under longtime teammate-turned-head coach Ben Olsen.
Quaranta thinks his former teammate can do big things on the sidelines.
"He has a base of being a good guy that people respect and if he treats you fairly, which he does, the guys respond to it," Quaranta said. "It's a recipe for a winning coach in the long run. If you look at guys that have success, they can look you in the eye and be honest with you. And he's that type of guy."
With the offseason now here, Quaranta is one of many D.C. players with an option for 2011. Now that he's healthy, he has a chance to think about what lies ahead.
"I feel good," he said. "I'll sit down with [the technical staff] and figure out where we go from here."
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.
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