Chris Borland, a 24 year old linebacker for the San Francisco 49r’s announced his retirement. Voted as the NFL “top rookie” Borland gained recognition in his short career and was slated to take a key spot in the upcoming season. Borland is walking away from a salary for next season in excess of $500,000. Borland commented that his decision involved much deliberation and consultation with family, professionals and trusted advisors as he examined the potential risks to his health that he would face if he stayed playing football. Over 70 former NFL players have been diagnosed with signs of progressive neurological disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE has been confirmed following autopsy of the players who have died like Junior Seau, Dave Dursen and others – all of whom have been identified in blogs on NeuroNotes over the last few years.
Chris Borland’s decision to walk away from a lucrative salary is precedent setting and important to consider as evidence of NFL players having a better understanding of the risks associated with multiple concussions and the threat of CTE.