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



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

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

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

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

“Once you’re in that NFL, 100% of the responsibility’s on you. So you got to take risks because you got to take care of your family,” stated Shields.

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

“Right now, I’ve I got one where I know that that’s my friend. That I could really say: ‘You’re my friend.’ I don’t even talk to most of my family members. Once football was over, everybody was over with me.”

In a Gamers 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 in the morning on some night in January 2017,” he wrote. “I overlook which one. I’d had a number of dangerous 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 making an attempt to interrupt out of my cranium or one thing.

“I was rolling around in my bed, whipping my body back and forth, trying to escape the pounding inside my head. Next thing I know, I’m curled up in the fetal position, shaking and crying.”

Shields outlined that he was out unavailable to play whereas with the Packers for nearly two years on account 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 really put much effort into checking to see if this dude is alright. They just wondered: ‘Is Sam going to play this week? He’s not playing? Oh, he’s got to go.”

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

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

It is just after taking day without work and looking for assist himself that he started to rehabilitate from his concussions and “beat them.”

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

“It was always: ‘Sam, you can do this. The money.’ I ain’t give a damn about no money. I just wanted to get my head right. My s**t is not together. … I felt like he wasn’t supportive of my health. In the two to three years I was 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 prospect to redo his life, he would select to play within the NFL once more, Shields was unequivocal.

“No,” Shields stated. “I’d be going to school, trying to work for home improvement. I’d be trying to learn how to build a house.”

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 “serve as another set of eyes, watching for possible injuries at every NFL game,” in line with NFL Soccer Operations.

For instance, stumbling is a thought-about an indication of ataxia because it demonstrates impaired motor perform. The league defines ataxia as “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue.”

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


Concussions and their prevention have turn into an necessary concern lately on account of their connection to mind illness later in life.

In 2017, a research printed within the medical journal JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Affiliation) discovered that power traumatic encephalopathy, referred to as CTE, was present in 99% of deceased NFL gamers’ brains that have 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 quite a lot of medical signs.

These embody reminiscence loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression, despair, anxiousness, impulse management points and generally suicidal habits.

It could solely be formally identified with an post-mortem, and most circumstances, though not all, have been seen in both veterans or individuals who performed contact sports activities, significantly 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 printed 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 kind of sport-related head harm and had a historical past of taking part in soccer.

Earlier this yr, former NFL participant Demaryius Thomas died out of the blue on the age of 33. Months after, Thomas’ household stated 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 – have been each posthumously identified with CTE.

A research in 2021 additionally discovered that NFL gamers are about 4 instances 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 circumstances are thought-about 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.