Citing a serious concussion, Wake Forest running back Tyler Henderson has announced his retirement from football.
Caused by bumps, blows, or sudden jolts to the head or body, concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that lead to changes in behavior, thinking, and physical functioning.
Most concussion victims will recover in several days, though some will experience symptoms for weeks or months. According to the Wake Forest sophomore’s announcement via Instagram, his condition appears to be serious:
“I’ve had a concussion for almost 7 months now, and after lots of praying and talking to numerous doctors and loved ones, I have decided to retire from the game I love and that brings me so much joy. It is such a hard thing to do, but it’s what’s best for my future and my health. I hate that my football career had to end like this and this soon, but I know and I trust that God has a bigger plan for me. “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming” — Romans 8:18. Keep me in your prayers. Football, you will be missed.”
Concussions have become a growing concern, both in the NFL and the football world in general.
It’s been hard to ignore.
In the last five years, two retired NFL stars suffering from traumatic brain injuries have taken their own lives. Both players, Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, shot themselves in the chest, apparently to preserve their brains for study. Duerson left a note: “Please see that my brain is given to the N.F.L.’s brain bank.”
Perhaps Duerson achieved in death what he couldn’t achieve in life: changing the culture of a macho sport where success is tied to stomaching pain.
Until recently the only way to test for the traumatic brain disease was with an autopsy—in short, when it was already too late. Now UCLA has devised a way of testing for traumatic brain injuries in the hopes of intervening and treating patients before its too late.
Three former NFL stars, Tony Dorsett, Joe DeLamielleure, and Leonard Marshall, recently underwent the tests. The results unanimously confirmed what their symptoms already expressed: football had seriously damaged their health.
Henderson joins a list of college players who have recently left the sport because of head injuries, including Texas quarterback David Ash, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland, and Michigan offensive lineman Jack Miller. He will transition to a coaching position with Wake Forest and will maintain his athletic scholarship.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports