WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton got some padded protection to go along with her Secret Service entourage when she returned to work Monday.
Clinton returned to her Washington office for the first time since she was treated for a blood clot in her brain that followed a head injury she sustained in a fall last month.
At a meeting with staff members Monday, Thomas Nides, the deputy secretary for management and resources, handed Clinton a boxed gift.
"As you know, Washington is a contact sport, sometimes even in your own home," Nides said.
The box contained a white football helmet emblazoned with the State Department seal and a jersey with Clinton's surname and the number 112 printed on the back, for the number of countries she has visited, said Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department. She recounted the episode in a briefing Monday.
"She loved it," Nuland said. "She thought it was cool. But then being Hillary Clinton, she wanted to get right to business."
Clinton, 65, suffered a concussion in December after she fainted and hit her head. She had been dehydrated because of a stomach virus she contracted during a trip to Europe, her aides and doctors said.
The fall forced her to cancel a trip to the Middle East and postpone appearances on Capitol Hill to discuss the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Clinton, a former senator from New York, is expected to step down this month and take some time off to ponder her next career move, including a possible run for the White House in 2016.