While the biggest TBI related news of the day is undeniably the report finding CTE in the brains of 110 of 111 former football players, there is other news coming from within the NFL that suggests living football players may be changing how they think about brain injuries.
After eight years in the NFL, safety David Bruton Jr. announced he was retiring from the NFL because of concerns about the multiple concussions he has sustained in his career. Bruton joins a growing number of athletes prematurely retiring over TBI or CTE-related fears.
On Sunday, Bruton told ESPN’s Jeff Legwold that even though he was feeling worn out by football, his biggest reason for leaving the league is his health.
“I’m burnt out, definitely worry about my health,” Bruton said. “Another season was cut short by a concussion (in 2016) — that’s six. I’m a guy who likes to use his brain. Especially back in school, I need as many brain cells as possible with all these science classes. It came down to health, and I’ve definitely had my time in the league. I’m ready to move on.”
Rather than leave the sport behind him entirely, however, Bruton says he plans to become a physical therapist and work with Bronco’s training staff. He has already enrolled at the University of Colorado-Denver and hopes it will allow him to help others.
“Physical therapy is definitely something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bruton told ESPN. “To see the people who enjoy doing it, who are good at it, and seeing the reward they get with working with people who work so hard to get back to normal life — it’s so rewarding.”
Bruton spent the vast majority of his career playing with the Denver Broncos. He was a part of the Super Bowl winning team in 2015, even though he was benched for the big game because of a fractured fibula.
In 2016, he signed with the Washington Redskins on a three-year contract. But, a concussion early in the season left Bruton out of commission for the season. He was released by the team in December.
In his announcement posted to Instagram, Bruton told fans: “After 8 years in the NFL, I am calling it a day in the league. I want to thank everyone who helped me along the way. This decision did not come easy being that I’ve done this for so long and my love for the game, but it comes to an end for everyone and mine is on July 24, 2017. Thank you to my family, friends, Pat B., the Bowlen Family, the Broncos, the Redskins and the fans. It’s been a hell of a ride and a lot of stories to pass down to future ball players.”
#ThankYouAll After 8 years in the NFL, I am calling it a day in the league. I want to thank everyone who helped me a long the way. This decision did not come easy being that I've done this for so long and my love for the game, but it comes to an end for everyone and mine is on July 24, 2017. Thank you to my family, friends, Pat B., the Bowlen Family, the Broncos, the Redskins and the fans. It's been a hell of a ride and a lot of stories to pass down to future ball players. #MuchLove