Chris Borland’s decision to retire came as a shock. Not only was Borland a young and ripe 24 years old, he’s coming off a stellar rookie campaign and was set to start in the middle for the San Francisco 49ers after Patrick Willis retired a week prior.
Borland was a first team All-BigTen linebacker for the Wisconsin Badgers from 2011-2013 also staking claim to conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. Selected 77th overall by San Francisco, how could Borland pass up the opportunity to play a game so many strive for? Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. It’s a PROGRESSIVE degenerative disease of the brain caused by repeated blows to the head. According to Boston University, the brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.
“The decision was simple after I had done a lot of research and it was personal,” Borland said. “I was concerned about neurological diseases down the road if I continued to play football, so I did a lot of research and gathered a lot of information and to me, the decision made sense.”
It’s the reason the National Football League looks a lot different on Sunday’s than it did before Commissioner Roger Goodell took office in 2006. Goodell and the NFL are hoping to save face—and money—by taking big hits out of the game and protecting the players from themselves…while continuing to make bookoo dinero. The black cloud that hung over the head of the league, the class action concussion lawsuit, was settled in 2013. It included over 4,500 names of current and former players. Players like Junior Seau and Jovan Belcher. Research their gruesome fates if you really want specifics.