Former New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich has weighed in on the ongoing NFL concussion debate.
Eleven-year NFL veteran and ESPN analyst Ninkovich, 38, has expressed concern for Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa following his recent concussion.
After sustaining what the Dolphins described as a back injury in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa was cleared to continue despite tripping shortly after linebacker Matt Milano scored.
Then, just four days later, Tagovailoa was started against the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he suffered another blow to the head – this time he was carried off the field and hospitalized with a confirmed concussion.
Per Pro Football Talk, Ninkovich said, “I think if Tua, 54, could talk to Tua, 24, he would ask him, ‘What were you thinking?’
“Twenty-four-year-olds think they’re indestructible. A soccer player is made to never want to leave the field. He never wants to give up.
“And head injuries are the hardest injury for athletes to accept. The effects of most of them are not known until later in life.
“But you have to protect the player from the player.”
Ninkovich admitted that after winning his second Super Bowl, the Patriots tried several times to persuade him not to retire, but to no avail.
Ninkovich said: “When you’ve played a couple of years and have decent money for life saved after football and you decide if you want to play another year… The price you’re paying for another year of salary might be take another 850 shots to the head. Is it worth it? It wasn’t for me.
And the former Patriots star hasn’t been afraid to criticize the NFL’s blatant hypocrisy when it comes to its attitude toward player welfare.
Ninkovich explained, “The league preaches safety all the time. But then they add a 17th game and one game per year for each team on three rest days, the game on Thursday evening.
“What really bothers me is that Tua is a much talked about person in a very coveted position, so that gets a lot of attention. Rightly so.
“But what about offensive linemen or lesser-known players when this happens to them? Nobody notices. It’s being swept under the rug.”
The veteran linebacker also addressed an issue that isn’t getting the coverage it arguably should: the impact of these traumatic brain injuries on family and friends.
Ninkovich elaborated: “The whole thing is disturbing.
“It’s the families, the wives and the children who will later deal with the consequences of such things. They will deal with what happened to those players when they were 24 years old.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6359962/former-new-england-patriot-rob-ninkovich-nfl-concussion/ Former New England Patriot Rob Ninkovich reveals he pulled out to avoid “another 850 shots to the head.”