Friday, March 20, 2015
When is enough, enough? When is one blow to the head one too many? For some of the players in the NFL, the answer may be “the next one”. Within the last week there has been three NFL stars retire before the age of the 30 due to health concerns in the future.
Chris Borland, a 24 year old star rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, decided to step away from the game due to concerns surrounding head trauma. Borland’s retirement came as a shock to the entire sporting world, as he was expected to become the face of the 49ers defense after leading the team in tackles as a rookie last season. "I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told "Outside the Lines." "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."1
The research that Borland looked into does not lie either. After the season, he spoke with concussion researchers from multiple universities who shared some of the shocking data about the risk of head injuries in pro football. “For instance, more than 30% of NFL players end up suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia — and the frequency of routine, subconcussive blows appears to play a major part.”2 “More than 70 former players have been diagnosed with progressive neurological disease after their deaths, and numerous studies have shown connections between the repetitive head trauma associated with fo
otball, brain damage and issues such as depression and memory loss. Borland becomes the most prominent NFL player to leave the game in his prime because of concerns about brain injuries.”1
Are there other NFL players with the same concerns as Chris Borland? Most likely, but will this start a new trend of players retiring at an early age because of what “might happen”? Probably not. But with information on head injuries in the NFL becoming more well known, that question will always sit in the back of our minds.
1Fainaru-Wada, M., & Fainaru, S. (2015, March 17). SF's Borland quits over safety issues. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
2Diamond, D. (2015, March 17). Why Chris Borland's Retirement Should Terrify The NFL. Retrieved March 17, 2015.