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Sam Shields: Super Bowl champion regrets playing in NFL; says his head is ‘all mushed together’ with concussions




CNN
 — 

Former Inexperienced Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields has mentioned he regrets taking part in within the NFL, pointing to the results concussions and head accidents had on his profession and his later life.

Having performed seven seasons with the Packers, Shields missed nearly 14 months with concussions between 2016 and 2017, returning to the sphere for one ultimate season in 2018 with the Los Angeles Rams earlier than retiring.

However, in a frank interview with Dan Le Batard within the ‘South Seashore Classes’ podcast, the 34-year-old Shields described his head being “all mushed along with the concussions.”

He added that he nonetheless suffers with complications, a scarcity of urge for food and sleep points on account of the concussions – and the cutthroat nature of the NFL.

“When you’re in that NFL, 100% of the duty’s on you. So you bought to take dangers since you obtained to care for your loved ones,” mentioned Shields.

“Once you’re carried out with soccer, everyone forgets about you. Household, buddies. I’ve one pal. In soccer, I had 10.

“Proper now, I’ve I obtained one the place I do know that that’s my pal. That I might actually say: ‘You’re my pal.’ I don’t even speak to most of my members of the family. As soon as soccer was over, everyone was over with me.”

In a Players Tribune article that Shields wrote in 2018, he outlined a number of the signs he skilled, which attributed to the concussions he suffered.

“It was three o’clock within the morning on some evening in January 2017,” he wrote. “I neglect which one. I’d had a whole lot of unhealthy nights round that point, however this one was the worst.

“I couldn’t sleep. It felt like my mind was cramping, or prefer it was attempting to interrupt out of my cranium or one thing.

“I used to be rolling round in my mattress, whipping my physique forwards and backwards, attempting to flee the pounding inside my head. Subsequent factor I do know, I’m curled up within the fetal place, shaking and crying.”

Shields outlined that he was out unavailable to play whereas with the Packers for nearly two years as a result of being within the concussion protocol.

And he questioned the help he acquired from the group in rehabilitating him along with his head accidents.

“They didn’t actually put a lot effort into checking to see if this dude is alright. They simply puzzled: ‘Is Sam going to play this week? He’s not taking part in? Oh, he’s obtained to go.”

The Packers didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s request for remark.

Shields describes receiving assist from docs at UCLA after questioning why his head was all “blurry.”

It’s only after taking break day and in search of assist himself that he started to rehabilitate from his concussions and “beat them.”

Shields is helped off of the field after taking a hit in the second quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on December 13, 2015.

Protect additionally attributes his points along with his head accidents being the rationale for firing his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

“It was all the time: ‘Sam, you are able to do this. The cash.’ I ain’t give a rattling about no cash. I simply needed to get my head proper. My s**t shouldn’t be collectively. … I felt like he wasn’t supportive of my well being. Within the two to a few years I used to be out the league, I didn’t hear from Drew.”

Rosenhaus didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s request for remark.

When requested by Le Batard whether or not, if given the possibility to redo his life, he would select to play within the NFL once more, Shields was unequivocal.

“No,” Shields mentioned. “I’d be going to high school, attempting to work for dwelling enchancment. I’d be attempting to learn to construct a home.”

The NFL revamped its concussion protocols this season after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s harm on September 25.

Tagovailoa suffered an obvious head harm and was later allowed to reenter the sport. Tagovailoa, 24, was later hospitalized for a concussion.

The Nationwide Soccer League makes use of ATC spotters, who’re unbiased licensed athletic trainers, to watch all video games.

The spotters “function one other set of eyes, expecting potential accidents at each NFL recreation,” in response to NFL Soccer Operations.

For instance, stumbling is a thought of an indication of ataxia because it demonstrates impaired motor perform. The league defines ataxia as “abnormality of stability/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech attributable to a neurological concern.”

The protocol modification introduced by the NFL and NFL Participant’s Affiliation mentioned a participant exhibiting indicators of ataxia whereas being evaluated for a concussion could be prohibited from returning to the sport.


Concussions and their prevention have turn into an essential concern lately as a result of their connection to mind illness later in life.

In 2017, a research revealed within the medical journal JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Affiliation) discovered that continual traumatic encephalopathy, often known as CTE, was present in 99% of deceased NFL gamers’ brains that had been donated to scientific analysis.

The neurodegenerative mind illness will be present in people who’ve been uncovered to repeated head trauma.

The illness is pathologically marked by a buildup of irregular tau protein within the mind that may disable neuropathways and result in a wide range of scientific signs.

These embrace reminiscence loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression, despair, nervousness, impulse management points and typically suicidal conduct.

It could solely be formally identified with an post-mortem, and most instances, though not all, have been seen in both veterans or individuals who performed contact sports activities, notably American soccer.

A 2018 research discovered that CTE can begin early and with none indicators of concussion.

Dr. Lee Goldstein, one of many authors on the research revealed within the journal Mind, and his colleagues from Boston College evaluated the brains of 4 deceased athletes, ages 17 and 18 years previous.

All 4 had died inside a day to 4 months of receiving some type of sport-related head harm and had a historical past of taking part in soccer.

Earlier this 12 months, former NFL participant Demaryius Thomas died all of a sudden on the age of 33. Months after, Thomas’ household mentioned he had been affected by stage 2 CTE when he died.

Additionally lately, Vincent Jackson, who died aged 38, and Phillip Adams – who fatally shot six folks earlier than taking his personal life – had been each posthumously identified with CTE.

A research in 2021 additionally discovered that NFL gamers are about 4 occasions extra prone to die of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s illness, than most people.

ALS is a neurodegenerative illness extra prone to be identified in older White males. The foundation causes are nonetheless unknown, and most instances are thought of sporadic.

The researchers hypothesized a few relationship between head trauma and ALS due to an analogous hyperlink detected between soccer and the neurodegenerative illness CTE. Earlier analysis has famous that CTE and ALS might have some comparable impacts on the mind.



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