NFL Player Chris Borland Quits Over Concussion Concerns

American Football Rising Star Retires After One Season Over Health Fears Following Concussions

18.03.2015

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland has retired after one season because he fears his health could suffer from the long-term effects of multiple concussions.

The 24-year-old rising star ended his four-year deal with the 49ers after talking to concussion researchers, becoming one of the most prominent NFL players to quit because of concerns over brain injuries. Borland had suffered two prior concussions before joining the team.

Concussion and other brain injuries is currently a contentious issue within American football. A class-action lawsuit involving thousands of former players was filed in 2012 and contended that the NFL hid the dangers of brain injury to players. A settlement has still not been reached.

Borland's retirement follows a similar move from Seattle Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice last year. Rice retired at 27 over fears for his health.

Despite NFL officials insisting American football has "never been safer", Borland said: "I just want to do what's best for my health. From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

Expert Opinion
The issue of head injuries and concussion in American Football has been hotly debated in recent months and the retirement of such a prominent player over fears for his health after a series of concussions will once again highlight the issue.

“Although the treatment of head injuries and concussions, which can lead to long-term health problems, has improved in a number of sports in recent years, there is still a long way to go and players are still risking their health by continuing to take the field following serious head injuries.

“Chris Borland’s decision to make his health the top priority is a brave one and may lead to further research and action being taken over the treatment of head injuries by sports authorities to ensure they do not lose their best players in this way in the future.”
Stephen Nye, Partner