We've seen a number of concussion-prone players retire early over the years, but the news of SF linebacker Chris Borland opting to retire after his rookie year is interesting. He hadn't have a major track record of concussions (one each in junior high and high school) but wanted to keep it that way.
I can relate to that very loosely. I banged my head on the front step to the house last week, where my sandal caught the step while bringing groceries in and I face-planted into the front of the house without free hands to break my descent. I'm not sure if I got a concussion per-se, but my vision was a smidge off in my right eye for a day or two.
We've seen a lot of news items in the last few years on the effects of long-term brain damage that can be caused by banging your head against other folks at high speed. We've also seen a trend to move kids away from football into less-contact-oriented sports (although, interestingly, one of Borland's two childhood concussions was in soccer, one of the common beneficiaries of the child football diaspora), including a presidential admission that he'd likely be leaning a son away from the gridiron if he had one.
That has prompted the though of whether football has much of a future if it's seen as too traumatic to play and smart folks opt to avoid the sport, both as participants and viewers.
I'm reminded of the candy-bar ad of a few years ago (19, as it turns out) where a quarterback "gets his bell rung" and almost passes an impromptu concussion test before declaring "I"m...Batman!" Well, Borland's Bruce Wayne opted to jump in the Batcar without his cape and mask, blowing out of Gotham West before turning into the Caped Crusader.