San Francisco 49ers

Chris Borland Retires; Continues A Trend Of Young Players Fleeing NFL


San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland announced his retirement on Monday at the age of 24 over concerns regarding concussions.

Borland revealed the surprising news on ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Monday and cited concerns over his long-term health. His retirement follows former teammate Patrick Willis, who retired last week at the age of 30 over health issues, former Titan Jake Locker, and ex-Steeler Jason Woirlds as players that left the sport early in the last month.

Borland’s logic for his retirement seems to have plenty of merit to it:

“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland said on the news program Monday night. “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”

The Wisconsin Badger, who believes he may have suffered a concussion during training camp prior to the start of his rookie season, cited the long-term health effects on players like Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Mike Webster.

Duerson and Easterling committed suicide following their playing days. Meanwhile, after his suicide in 2006, former Philadelphia Eagles safety Andre Waters was said to have the brain tissue of an 85-year-old man following brain damage from multiple concussions.

Borland’s theory for wanting to leave before the wear and tear got him does make sense. Simply put, he wanted to get out while the getting was good.

Without question, the issues of player safety and post-retirement care are major challenges for Roger Goodell and the NFL brass.

If young kids see players in their 20s fleeing the sport over health concerns, will their motivation to play football trend downward?

The NFL’s popularity dwarfs baseball, basketball, and hockey but if more players believe they are at risk long-term, Borland’s case is going to be the norm.

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