24 Year Old San Francisco 49ers Linebacker Chris Borland Is Retiring From The NFL
NFL – San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, one of the NFL’s top rookies last season, told “Outside the Lines” on Monday that he is retiring because of concerns about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.
Borland, 24, said he notified the 49ers on Friday. He said he made his decision after consulting with family members, concussion researchers, friends and current and former teammates, and studying what is known about the relationship between football and neurodegenerative disease.
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland told “Outside the Lines.” “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”
Borland becomes the most prominent NFL player to leave the game in his prime because of concerns about brain injuries. More than 70 former players have been diagnosed with progressive neurological disease following their deaths, and numerous studies have shown a connection between the repetitive head trauma associated with football, brain damage and issues such as depression and memory loss.
Baalke: “While unexpected, we certainly respect Chris’ decision… He was a consummate professional from day one.” http://t.co/oZCRQv1hef
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) March 17, 2015
As a 49ers fan, this a tough blow, especially considering the retirement of Patrick Willis and the impending retirement of Justin Smith. Other than that, this is a very smart move. As a soon to be 27 year old, I can relate to Chris Borland here, and that’s not something I can usually say about a fantastic football player. But the research is there. Concussions, and brain trauma in general, is a very real thing that is heightened when you play a contact sport like football. Chris Borland is a lot of things, and a football player with a bright future is definitely one of them, but most of all he’s a guy making an educated decision based on his own and other’s research. As Tyler Moorehead pointed out on Twitter, Borland has given reitrment some thought for awhile now:
— Tyler Moorehead (@TMoorehead627) March 17, 2015
There’s a reason Jake Locker retired at 26 and now Chris Borland is retiring at 24. It’s clear that my generation has a different mindset when it comes to football, and the one thing I hope people don’t take away from this is that people like Locker and Borland are less passionate than the generation of players before them. They care about their futures, and to be quite honest, if I played the same sport as a guy who shot himself in the chest so doctors could examine his brain, I’d be a little concerned about my future too. The older generation of football players, and people in general, used to say to ‘suck it up and play the game’, worry about the repercussions later. That is now a foolish and outdated point of view. Football is fun to watch, but it’s clear from the actions of Roger Goodell and those employed by him that the actual player’s safety is the least of their worries. For every rule change that prohibits hits to the head there’s something to make up for it, like having your players play on a Thursday after a Sunday and not giving them enough time to recover from such a grueling game. The same goes for the proposed 18 game schedule we hear every offseason; Roger Goodell and his owners care about money, plain and simple. I’m glad guys like Borland and Locker are realizing that and are taking themselves out of the game before it’s too late. Being known as a great football player isn’t worth your future anymore, and that’s a very good thing.