SURREY, B.C. (CP) -- Quarterback Dave Dickenson says he wants return to the B.C. Lions this season but won play won't until he's totally recovered from his third concussion in less than two years.
"I will not be back until I am 100 per cent, that includes practising and my fitness level," Dickenson told a news conference Friday at the CFL team's training facility. "There are more important things than football, I know.
"If I am healthy and ready to go, and the guys count on me, I want to be back out there."
Dickenson, 34, has not practised with the Lions since being hit by Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end Fred Perry in the Lions' 42-12 win July 13. Earlier this week he was examined by a concussion specialist in Toronto.
Dickenson wouldn't say when he might play again.
"It's important to make sure I clear up completely," he said. "I feel comfortable with how it's going.
"I'm not ready to give up on the year, let alone my career. Once I feel healthy I certainly will cross that bridge."
The 4-0 Lions will have Buck Pierce starting at quarterback when they play the Stampeders in Calgary Saturday.
Dickenson smiled and joked while talking to the media. The father of two small children said he hasn't been able to read newspapers, work on his computer or watch much TV during his recovery. At first he wasn't able to drive and bright light still bothers him.
B.C. team physician Dr. Bob McCormack said the number of concussions Dickenson has suffered isn't an issue.
"There's lots of athletes out there that have had 20 concussions and have had no consequences from that," he said.
"We are not as concerned by the numbers of concussions but whether they start coming on with less injury or if there are lasting or long symptoms that don't settle down. If one recovers completely from a concussion, then they become almost independent issues."
Dickenson's latest concussion resulted from "a double impact" when he was hit under the chin, then slammed his head on the field, said McCormack.
"That double impact is recognized as being worse in taking longer to get better," he said.
Dickenson acknowledged that if he continues to sustain concussions from similar hits he will have to think about his future.
"I think it was a substantial hit," he said. "It was a hit I will take again.
"I still think I have my wits. I don't know how much longer the symptoms will last. If they do push into months or stretch on in years, that's when you decide if you will return and I'm certainly not there yet."
Dickenson said he's been smarter in dealing with the symptoms of his concussion this time. He hasn't put stress on himself by trying to rush back.
"I've got enough invested in this season I don't want to miss any of it," he said. "I also realize that, ultimately, you have to have enough reward for potential risk.
"If the risk outweighs the reward you have to look at that. I feel pretty confident things are moving in the direction you want it. I am anxious to feel better then make other decisions later on."
Dickenson was examined Wednesday by Dr. Karen Johnston, a neurosurgeon at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
Johnston has worked with NHL players like Eric Lindros, Mike Richter and Scott Stevens. She was the past director of neurotrama at the McGill University Health Centre. When the Montreal Alouettes won the Grey Cup in 2002, they presented Johnston with a personalized championship ring.
Dickenson has completed 37 of 60 passes for 446 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions this season.
At five-foot-11, and 195 pounds, Dickenson isn't a big man. Besides the concussions, the Great Falls. Mont., native has battled through a series of knee and ankle injuries since signing with the Lions in 2003 after bouncing the NFL for several years.
He began his CFL career in Calgary where he was named the league's outstanding player in 2000.
Starting this season, Dickenson had thrown for 22,094 yards, 151 touchdowns and 40 interceptions.