Football’s Youth Chooses Health Over Wealth

Unprecedented numbers of young NFL players are walking away from the sport. The health risks of professional have generally been taken for granted by players and fans alike. But this week Chris Borland, a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers made national news when he announced his retirement at the age of 24 for fear of a brain injury.

With the initiation of new rules and regulations being added to the game in an attempt to slow the number of concussions, the once-disputed connection between contact sports and head injuries is now being regarded as an undeniable fact. Following the autopsies of 79 deceased NFL players it was discovered that 76 of them had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease popular in athletes. It is believed that CTE, which can cause severe depression, played a role in the suicide deaths of former NFL players Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling. Borland noted both of these former players when addressing his reason for retirement.

The move toward preventative care by the NFL and players like Chris Borland and others is certainly positive. However, removing physical contact from the sport is an unlikely prospect and so concussions and the negative effects that follow will likely continue.