Russell Allen, a linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars, played his last game on December 15, 2013. Up against Buffalo, Allen “had his bell rung” but continued to play on in the game with a searing headache and vision problems. A trip to the Emergency Room and three days of testing revealed that Allen had suffered a stroke and his career in football was over. Russell Allen’s football story began at age 14 and later when he was in college he played for the San Diego State Aztecs. In his career, Allen refers to “getting his bell rung about 10 times”, this last brain injury proved to be career ending. Could the coaches have pulled Russell Allen from the game? Did they know what the signs of concussion are? Those are the nagging questions for me. Here is the story of a man who lived to play football and brought his passion to the sport. As the father of a young son, Russell Allen faces the question: will Parker play football?
As we look at the long-term effects of multiple concussions on pro-footballers and hockey players, Russell Allen’s story is fitting into the pattern.