Borland, Now What?

If you are interested in sports or the brain trauma/concussion debate you probably did not miss the news about Chris Borland’s abrupt retirement from the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers.  In case you missed it, he broke this news to Outside the Lines on ESPN.

Since he made his decision there has been quite the discussion regarding why and what this means in the long-term; not only for football but for the awareness angle of this injury he has cited for his reason for hanging them up.

But what does it really mean, beyond the #hottakes from all over the internet?

When Borland decided it was his time walk away he knew there would be great interest, well had to know.  It has not been the norm to see a 24-year-old to retire due to concerns over long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma.  Most people in his position, now and going forward, are probably more concerned about making a living playing a game they love and a good one at that.  But think about the ripple effect of this news.

First, remember when Jake Locker decided to retire?  Hardly now, I bet.  Or Patrick Willis, from the same 49er team?  A bit more memorable because of his stature, I bet.

But both of those decisions were pale in comparison to the news from Borland, who until he retired I and many hardly knew him outside of very devout followers of the league and team.  The reaction was a combination of mass hysteria and shock with everyone waiting to chime in their opinion.  We saw nothing like that from the other two more “high-profile” players before Borland.  Why was this… Continue reading

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Noteable Retirement in Rugby

News of a significant retirement in the sport of rugby (Union or League) rarely makes the press in America, however the first I have found attributed to concussions made its way stateside, via Chicago Tribune and Reuters;

Former England back-rower Michael Lipman has quit the Melbourne Rebels after suffering severe headaches and “haziness” following a concussion during the Super Rugby season.

Lipman had informed his team mates this week, Melbourne’s The Age newspaper reported, but the decision had been brewing for some time, a Melbourne Rebels spokesman said on Wednesday.[…]

“The bottom line is that throughout my career I’ve had so many bangs to the head and I’ve had so much concussion … the last couple have been the icing on the cake,” Lipman told The Age.

“I’ve just had too many. Enough’s enough and when you’re body’s talking to you like it is now, you’ve got to listen to it and be sensible Continue reading

Former NFL CB hangs it up due to concussions

Randall Gay, formerly of the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots has decided that football is no longer his career of choice, due to concussions.  Gay is 30 years old and feels he is having effects due to too many head traumas;

“But then it gets to the point where you don’t know enough about head injuries to just say I can deal with it. You might be able to deal with it today, but you don’t know what tomorrow holds. That’s the scary thing about it. That’s the decision you don’t want to make.

“I love the game of football, and I feel like I can deal with the headaches or just being nauseous. Just being a little dizzy, I can deal with it, but you just never know what it’s going to bring later.”

Gay was particularly frightened when he heard about former teammate Junior Seau, Continue reading

NHL: Paul Kariya Retires

“The thing that I worry about,” Kariya said in an interview, “is that you’ll get a guy who is playing with a concussion, and he gets hit, and he dies at centre ice. Can you imagine what would happen to the league if a guy dies at centre ice?”

Paul Kariya was a super-star of his time, after sitting out the last year due to post-concussive events he has decided that 989 points in 989 games was good enough to call it a career.  In a VERY candid way by calling out the NHL for what he sees as a major issue with the sport, article from Mail and Globe and Eric Duhatscheck;

Kariya believes that because there are no visible outward symptoms of concussion, NHL teams tend to play them down to their players. He contrasted it to the treatment levels accorded to a player who suffered a major knee injury. Continue reading