Cardinals sixth-round pick Ryan Swope’s NFL career may be over before it ever began. The wide receiver suffered four concussions during his college years at Texas A&M and the Cardinals were well aware of the risk in drafting him.
On Thursday, they had to relay the bad news to Swope, informing him that his post-concussion symptoms were a risk to his health. Swope decided to retire from football and re-evaluate his situation a year later.
This isn’t the first time that concussions have ended a player’s career prematurely. Earlier this offseason, Running back Jahvid Best has not formally retired, but his past concussion history has prevented him from playing since a concussion in 2011.
Then Vikings cornerback Asher Allen also decided to hang up his cleats early due to his concussion history.
It’s a trend now that is starting to become the norm in the NFL.
Here are the tweets Swope sent out after his retirement.
There has been a lot of focus on concussions in the NFL in the past five years. From former players committing suicide with apparent brain injuries and even those who struggle with life after football, there is a major concern about the well-being of the players.
As much as there is a passion to realize a dream and make money, it’s starting to become apparent that life without football might be the best option. For Swope, he understood that following through with his education and looking toward his future was the best option.
This is one thing that I worry about players that don’t prepare for life after football. They do get that chance to learn in college, but how many of them take their education seriously? It could be their key to a strong future if injuries derail their careers.
Living in fear is a terrible thing. When concussions damage your brain, that’s what life becomes. There is no way to “man up” and move on from such an injury. The brain and the heart are the vital organs of keeping a person alive. Damage to either one changes a person’s ability to live. That is starting to sink in even more in the NFL.
I am glad the NFL is making the efforts to ensure all players are cleared to return to football following head injuries. But sometimes the battle to return is too much and the risk is too high. The safest route may be to retire early.
We’ll see if this truly becomes a trend in the NFL. But from what we’ve seen so far, early retirement could happen a lot more as we learn more about head injuries.