San Francisco 49ers promising rookie, Chris Borland, is retiring from the NFL at the age of 24 due to safety concerns, ESPN reports.
The linebacker made his decision after consulting with family, concussion researchers, current and former teammates, and studying the connection between football and neurodegenerative disease to the dismay of 49er fans. But can you really blame the guy?
Borland told ESPN:
"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health. From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."
His fears aren’t unfounded. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository in Bedford, Massachusetts found evidence of a degenerative brain disease in 76 of the 79 former players it examined in 2014, PBS reported.
And after the incident with Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher back in 2012—the 25-year-old player shot and killed his girlfriend before committing suicide in front of team officials—it’s no wonder Borland wants to be proactive. (Read the full story from ESPN’S “Outside The Lines” here.)
Repetitive head trauma is associated with long-term depression, memory loss and pervasive brain damage, which can shorten one’s lifespan.
Reserve judgment and opinion; it’s incredibly impressive (and unheard of) for a player of Borland’s age and caliber to step away at this stage of the game. If anything, his decision is another voice in the growing argument over concussion and health risks inherent within the NFL.