The concussion issue in the NFL has become a fraught battle, with everyone knowing that head injuries have some connection to later health concerns but no one sure of the best way to move forward or change the league.
Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison is among those looking back on his career in a different light as research continues to uncover new information about concussions. Harrison spoke with Bob Costas on "Costas Tonight" about his concussion history, and from what the former All-Pro said, it sounds like the NFL is at least getting one thing right by spreading awareness now.
Harrison said he estimates that he had at least 20 concussions in his NFL career, but he didn’t hear anything about the danger — or even that concussions existed — for several seasons. He wasn’t aware of the implications of such head injuries until “just recently.”
“My first year, in 1994, one of the first weeks of training camp, I hit Natrone Means,” he said. “He’s a 245-pound running back. I was knocked out. And not once in my first five or six years in the league did I even hear the word ‘concussion.’ And even on the field playing, I would get up, hit someone, the entire stadium was spinning around, and I would walk to the sideline, they would hold me out for one play, give me two Advil, and tell me to get back into the game.
“The NFL, if they’re guilty of anything, it’s the lack of awareness that they brought and the lack of education. They never told us or explained to us or even let us know what a concussion was.”
Harrison said he regularly experiences concussion symptoms, and as he looks at other players who are later in life and have been affected by head injuries, he’s worried about his future.
“I’m scared,” he said. “I’m 40 years old, and I’m scared. … I have four kids. I have a beautiful wife, and I’m scared to death what may happen to me 10, 15 years from now.”
Harrison also lost a former teammate, Junior Seau, to suicide this past May. An postmortem examination showed Seau had the degenerative brain disease CTE — often linked with repeated blows to the head — and many people have attributed his death to the lingering effects of on-field injuries.
Several solutions have been suggested to cut down on head injuries in football, but most come with controversy. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has implemented new rules that he says will significantly reduce the amount of hits that players take to the head, and the NFL has been tough about not letting players return to the field after concussions in recent years. Goodell has also been criticized, though, for calling for more games on the regular-season schedule and not working with the players’ union on its suggestions for player health.
Hard hits, especially to the head, are still an everyday part of the game, and making enough changes to eliminate serious head injuries could compromise the essence of the game. While advanced tests for brain damage and research into new helmets and safety measures are gaining traction, some fear that football will have to change considerably to keep players safe.
The one stride that has been made, though, is that everyone is talking about concussions now. As Harrison’s words attest, that’s a huge step from just a few years ago.
Former NFL safety Rodney Harrison admitted to NBC’s Bob Costas that he’s scared to death of what his future might hold after suffering what he believes was 20 concussions during his career.
“A lot of these players are really really suffering, Bob,” Harrison said to Costas, per Yahoo! Sports. “And this stuff is for real because I’m experiencing it now. I’m scared to...
receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web.
Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!
Back in June, former Olympian and Fox Sports Radio host Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was involved in an ATV accident in which her spinal cord was severed. It was a very scary situation, but Van Dyken-Rouen kept a sense of humor about the situation and vowed to walk again, despite what seemed to be impossible circumstances. This week, the impossible seemed possible as Van Dyken-Rouen stood...
Le’Veon Bell was a bit confused as to why he was getting a DUI after smoking weed. This could have been the effects of the weed or he just genuinely didn’t know the law. I will let you decide from some details from the affidavit : Affidavit: @L_Bell26: "I didn’t know you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked two hours ago. I’m not high anymore. I’m perfectly fine...
Johnny Manziel’s $4.3 million signing bonus just took a small hit on Friday as the league fined him $12,000 for the Finger Seen ‘Round the World. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Manziel is allegedly weighing an appeal. Johnny Manziel is still weighing whether to appeal his $12,000 fine for flipping the bird. #thebird — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 22, 2014 Why would the rookie...
The Boston Red Sox have won the Rusney Castillo sweepstakes. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com as well as Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Red Sox and Castillo are “on track” to sign a six-year, $72 million deal. Source: Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo on track for record-setting 6-year, $72 million deal […]
Jason Whitney New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony was coaching a celebrity game at the Barclays Center when he dished out some details about his free agency this past July. Melo said that he was close to leaving New York, but ultimately decided to stay with the Knicks, agreeing to a five-year, $124 million contract. In fact, Anthony was […] Sports-Kings - The Kings of Sports...
Team USA’s World Cup hero Tim Howard shared some disappointing news on his Facebook page on Thursday. Howard took to his page to announce that he would be taking a one-year break from the U.S. Men’s National Team. Post by Tim Howard. The 35-year old Howard has been the team’s starting goalkeeper for the last […]
Finally. Finally. The Kevin Love saga appears to be coming to an official end. Although the long rumored (and expected) trade cannot be announced until this Saturday, reports out of the Twin Cities appear to show the frame work for a three-team deal involving the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers could be completed soon. Dan Barreiro of 100.3 KFAN...
Convicted Auburn tree poisoner Harvey Updyke will not make an appearance at a charity event in Mobile, Ala., after Dee Dee Bonner, the mother of Cincinnati Bengals and former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, and McCarron’s wife, model Katherine Webb, received death threats on social media.
Ric Bucher has a column up at Bleacher Report examining the aftermath of the Warriors sticking their toes in the “trade for Kevin Love” waters then deciding against jumping in. The column revolves around the notion that the Warriors were the aggressors in the talks with Minnesota all along until they ultimately decided that trading for Love wasn’t in their best interest. Meanwhile...
V. Stiviano is getting down and dirty when it comes to her legal dispute with Donald Sterling. For her latest act, she accused the former Clippers owner of being gay. You may recall that the tension between Stiviano and Sterling began when Shelly filed a lawsuit trying to get back the cars, property and gifts […]
Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.