San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland shocked the football world on Monday when he announced his retirement at the age of 24 over concerns about long-term brain injuries.
Borland said he notified the team of his decision on Friday, according to ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
His retirement comes after speaking with his family, teammates, concussion experts and friends, as well as studying the known relationship between football and brain trauma.
“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.”
You gotta give it to #Chris Borland. Health>Wealthhyphen; Eric Ryan (@etimm7) March 17, 2015
I think Chris Borland is soft personally.. If I had the chance to play nfl football you would have to take me out in a body bag to retirehyphen; Brian McLaughlin (@B_McGLOCK) March 17, 2015
Research lately has shown that repeated brain injuries, like the concussions sustained by NFL players, can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative neurological disease.
The repeated concussions suffered by many NFL players have led to more than 70 CTE diagnoses and are suspected to be related to a couple of high-profile cases of suicide in former NFL players.
CTE is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression and progressive dementia, according to Boston University.
Several players have acknowledged the dangers of CTE, including two Super Champions who pledged their brains to science, but Borland is one of the youngest – and most high-profile – players to retire over health concerns.
PBS reports that the 2014 NFL season produced a total of 123 concussions, down from 152 in 2013 and 173 in 2012.
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