Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/31/13

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 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 year. Many people have attributed Seau’s death to lingering effects of injuries, and to him fighting imbalances and depression after he left the game. 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. See what he had to say in the video below. document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-841d1266d0e9b31bf78de4fff057cf2c').submit();

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Cult of Sport: Before there was Ezekiel Elliott, there was Eric Dickerson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for haul of impressive prospects

Looking at NFL injuries that could impact the Super Bowl chase

Report: RG3 to start Sunday barring health setback

Major changes could be coming to the World Cup in 2026

Peterson planning to return if Vikings stay in playoff hunt

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Desmond’s deal with Rockies is puzzling, opens door for trades

Report: ‘Well has been poisoned’ for Lane Kiffin as USF candidate

Johnny Manziel tells Lamar Jackson not to go to Browns

NCAA president on Penn State: ‘How could you not be pleased?’

Chris Bosh likely to wait until next season to try comeback

Report: Jackson ‘intrigued’ by possible Eagles reunion

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Box Score 12/6: Klay Thompson and the ball of fire

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also 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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 13

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker