Now that celebrity players are putting their health ahead of their wallets it might wake up others who are unwittingly being exploited by those who profit from this "brain scrambling" national addiction.
More important is that parents get the message that throwing their kids on football fields is nothing short of abuse.
It is an off-season like no other in the National Football League. Young players, with many games and millions of dollars potentially ahead of them, are walking away from the country’s most popular sport.
Linebacker Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the top rookies in the N.F.L. last season, is the latest case, and perhaps the most noteworthy. He said Monday that he was retiring because of concerns about his safety, and his decision may have ripple effects well beyond the professional ranks.
“Somebody said we’re at the beginning of the beginning, and that might be true,” Jeff Borland, Chris’s father, said Tuesday in a telephone interview regarding whether his son’s decision would influence parents of young football players.
During the preseason last year, Chris Borland sent a letter to his parents in Ohio. He thanked them for their support and said he was embarking on what was likely to be his final season playing football.
“We readily accepted it,” Jeff Borland said. “It was a relief that after one more season, he would no longer be taking the physical abuse. He kept his unpublished word that he gave the team everything he had. I was very proud of that.”
Borland’s decision, which was first reported by ESPN, came just days after Patrick Willis, 30, a seven-time All-Pro linebacker also with the 49ers, announced that he would retire rather than risk further injury.
At least three other prominent players have followed suit.