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Chris Borland, NFL Rookie, Quits Over Head Trauma Fears

Image: Chris Borland, NFL Rookie, Quits Over Head Trauma Fears
(Chris Szalgola/CSM/Landov, file)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 08:17 AM

NFL rookie Chris Borland, 24, announced his retirement after just one season as a standout San Francisco 49ers linebacker, saying he feared long-term damage from repeated head trauma if he continued playing professional football.

Borland, who made 107 tackles last season, told ESPN he made his decision after talking with family, concussion researchers, friends, and current and former teammates.

"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told ESPN's "Outside the Lines." "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

"I feel largely the same, as sharp as I've ever been. For me, it's wanting to be proactive," said Borland. "I'm concerned that if you wait till you have symptoms, it's too late. ... There are a lot of unknowns. I can't claim that X will happen. I just want to live a long healthy life, and I don't want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise."

The San Jose Mercury News reported that Borland was overcoming an ankle injury that ended his season Dec. 20 in a 49ers game against NFC champion Seattle.

"While unexpected, we certainly respect Chris' decision," Trent Baalke, the 49ers general manager, said in a team statement. "From speaking with Chris, it was evident that he had put a great deal of thought into this decision.

"He was a consummate professional from day one and a very well respected member of our team and community. Chris is a determined young man that overcame long odds in his journey to the NFL and we are confident he will use the same approach to become very successful in his future endeavors. We will always consider him a 49er and wish him all the best," said Baalke.

Borland played college football at Wisconsin where he was teammates with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Borland was popular among his teammates and school supporters.

"He was one of the most productive linebackers in Badgers football history and a beloved player by teammates and fans," wrote the Journal's Jason Galloway.

ESPN reported that Borland became the fourth NFL player age 30 or younger to announce his retirement from the league in the past week.

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NFL rookie Chris Borland, 24, announced his retirement after just one season as a standout San Francisco 49ers linebacker, saying he feared long-term damage from repeated head trauma if he continued playing professional football.
chris borland, nfl, rookie, quits, head, trauma
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2015-17-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 08:17 AM
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