In the news recently is an undrafted free agent that was signed by the Cleveland Browns, Andrew Sweat. Not because of his prowess on the gridiron, which was decent enough to get a look, rather his career change. Some are surmising that this can be due to concussions or the risk of them.
Sweat had a concussion in college and prior to the mini-camp he had an accident that made the decision easier to pursue a law career;
Then on the morning he was preparing to report to training camp last Friday, Sweat slipped and hit his head in the shower. Not that hard, he said. But hard enough to cause his concussion symptoms to return. So he took the final slip as a sign and decided to end his career as a football player, realizing that he’d been struggling with his decision to give football another chance all along.
“When I fell, it scared me,” Sweat said. “Football is not worth my health. It’s really important to me that I’m able to have a family and a life after football. Football is a great game, but when you have a concussion like that, it’s not worth it.”
It wasn’t just headaches or dizziness that brought major concern for Sweat, it was the depression and mental fogginess that wore on him. He was also a player that hid a concussion and then felt the wrath of not being completely brain healthy in a game against Purdue;
Sweat’s most serious incident occurred at Purdue on Nov. 12, when he wobbled off the field after taking a relatively light hit during the game. He’d actually suffered a concussion in practice the Wednesday before the game and didn’t tell anyone, and it got worse during the game.
“When I walked off the field at Purdue, I couldn’t even stand up,” Sweat said. “I couldn’t feel my fingers or my hands, I was numb everywhere. It was really scary.”
Sweat has a great message for others that may face the same decision;
“Some people, football is the only thing they have, so it’s hard,” Sweat said. “So I can understand it. But I think there’s a fine line between being smart and tough.
“Sometimes people get lost in the game of football. They don’t think about injuries, and they ignore things. I enjoy too many things. I’m too well-rounded to have critical damage to my brain and body.”
Credit to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer, great interview.