Every Kid That Dreams Of Becoming An NFL Quarterback Should Read This Kevin Kolb Piece
Kevin Kolb retired earlier this year after he sustained a concussion, the fourth of his career, in a 2013 preseason game with the Bills. One knee to the head was all it took to end his NFL dream, a mere six years after it started. By NFL standards, six years is actually pretty good -- about twice as long as the average career -- but for a guy who started for both the Eagles and Cardinals and played one of the most sought-after positions in sports, it seems woefully short.
Considering how prevalent concussions are -- there are hundreds diagnosed every season -- you might think that dealing with concussions is just part of the job description. You might also look at guys like Troy Aikman (at least 10 concussions in his 12 year career) and think, "If I'll play football, I'll turn out like him" rather than those who have been diagnosed with CTE or other disorders as a result of repeated brain damage. Maybe you will.
Or maybe you'll be like Kolb, who talked to MMQB about his lingering issues from concussions in an article released today. Does this sound like a fun way to live the rest of your life, from age 30 on?
With concussions, sometimes you don’t know what is a symptom and what is not. But some symptoms are impossible to ignore. The ringing is like someone shooting a shotgun right next to my ear, every second of every day. It doesn’t go away.
The sensitivity to light also has a profound impact. I’ll be in a business meeting indoors and have to politely ask to put on my sunglasses before the headaches and double vision start.
But I can deal with those symptoms. The short-term memory loss is more difficult. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m just busy with a very full schedule and that’s why I can’t remember everything, or if it’s a concussion symptom.
Kolb is hardly the first player to talk about NFL life after concussions. Nate Jackson, a former wide receiver, famously wrote about dealing with brain damage after suffering just two concussions in his career -- one in high school and one as a Denver Bronco. But there's something so disconcerting about Kolb's story -- perhaps because it's so recent, and the end came so suddenly and without warning. And now he has to deal with the consequences for the rest of his life.
There are lots of young football players out there, and many of them want to be quarterbacks, because quarterbacks are the leaders and they're famous and they get chicks and they get paid ridiculous amounts of money for what they do. That's why anyone considering a career in football should read Kolb's piece and come to terms with the fact that, like Nate Jackson says, people will expect you to grin and bear it, because "that's what you signed up for."
There may be a pot of gold and sports immortality on the other side of the rainbow. There might also be the sound of a shotgun blast ringing in your ears every day. Don't say these guys didn't warn you.
Photo via Getty
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