Robert Griffin III’s head wasn’t the only one at the center of concussion concerns in the capital this season. For her first day of work after a month-long absence, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received a standing ovation and some football gear – a helmet and jersey.
After being sidelined by a stomach virus, a fall and concussion, and then a blood clot near her brain, Clinton convened her first meeting of senior staff since early December.
Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, noting that Washington is a contact sport, presented Clinton with a regulation white Riddell football helmet emblazoned with the State Department seal. The jersey had her name on the back and the number 112 for the record-breaking number of countries she has visited as secretary of state, according to spokesperson Victoria Nuland.
Clinton fell ill with a stomach bug after returning from a trip to Europe on Dec. 7. The illness forced her to cancel a planned visit to North Africa and the Middle East and left her severely dehydrated. While at home, she fainted and fell and suffered a concussion that was diagnosed by doctors on Dec. 20.
During a follow up examination on Dec. 30, doctors discovered a blood clot in a vein that runs between the skull and the brain behind her right ear and she was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital for treatment with blood thinners. She was released from the hospital Wednesday.
Though she loved the gifts, she wanted to get right back to work, Nuland said.
At the meeting, Clinton stressed the need for the State Department to implement a review board's recommendations for improving the security at high-threat diplomatic posts, officials said. Clinton said she wanted to see all 29 of the recommendations from the independent Accountability Review Board in place by the time her successor takes over. The review board, created after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, harshly criticized leadership and management at two State Department bureaus that allowed the post to be inadequately protected. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the attack.
Clinton also told her staff on Monday that she would testify before Congress about the report before she leaves office, officials said. No date for that testimony has yet been set and Congress is in recess until Jan. 21, meaning that she may have to stay on as secretary of state for another week or so after Obama's inauguration on that day. After she testifies, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would take up Kerry's nomination.