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();

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Winners and losers of Astros' ALCS victory over Yankees

Steph Curry may face suspension for throwing mouthpiece at ref

Alex Cora reportedly getting three-year deal from Red Sox

Kristaps Porzingis wants to see changes from Knicks before committing long-term

Bobby Portis apologizes for role in Nikola Mirotic fight

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tennessee fans fly banner: 'Butch your mom still loves you'

Steelers rack up $94K in fines for penalties against the Chiefs

Kyrie Irving has no regrets about cursing at heckler who taunted him about LeBron

Tennessee's Rashaan Gaulden flips double bird to 'Bama fans, down by 22 points

WATCH: Adrian Killins injured after crashing into goat bucket

Twitter reacts to Adrian Killins leaving everyone in dust on 79-yard TD

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

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