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Archive for July 27, 2017

July 27, 2017 — … And the costs thereof

In 2001, a Minnesota Vikings running back named Robert Smith abruptly ended his career as an NFL running back to pursue a career in medicine. A trail of criticism followed. Why would someone so prominent in football, making hundreds of thousands of dollars a season, choose to ditch the sport?

The same could be said for Calvin Johnson, whose freaky body control in making catches earned him the nickname Megatron. But only a couple of years after breaking some long-held NFL records, he gave up on the rest of his $123 million contract and left pro football.

And this week, after just three seasons, Baltimore Ravens lineman John Urschel retired to turn his attention to getting his PhD in mathematics from MIT.

It didn’t necessarily take this week’s Boston University neurological study on brains to tell you that the three players mentioned above are not the only people in sports history to have made a calculated decision based upon a healthy future.

But the thing is, there are plenty of people, such as race driver Ricky Craven, hockey players Eric and Brett Lindros, soccer players Kim Pickup and Taylor Twellman, and lacrosse players Kevin Crowley and Trevor Tierney, who have also retired from professional sports after concussions.

Though this week’s publication of the concussion study could very well mean the marginalization of the sport of football within the foreseeable future, there are other games with their own hazards.

I’ll be interested to see what happens.