It appears Chris Borland is not alone.
Just a little over a week ago, the former Wisconsin and now-former San Francisco 49er linebacker stunned the college football world by announcing that he was retiring from the NFL after just one season, citing long-term concerns as it relates to head injuries. A couple of days prior to Borland’s announcement, it was announced that Jack Miller would not be returning to Michigan and was walking away from the sport.
As it turns out, Miller’s decision was based on concerns similar to that of Borland.
In an interview with Miller that appears on ESPN.com, Joe Schad writes that the offensive lineman cited “concern about the long-term impact from past and possible future concussions [as] a factor in the decision” to step away from the game. Even as he’s garnered interest from several programs, the former starting center stated that his health is front and center in his thought process.
“I know I’ve had a few and it’s nice walking away before things could’ve gotten worse,” Miller said. “And yes, multiple schools have reached out. But I’m ready to walk away from it. My health and happiness is more important than a game. …
“I know it’s pretty unorthodox for a 21-year-old to see past his own nose. This game requires such a passion to excel, and my flame is burned out. However, I’d be lying if I said that the concussion thing doesn’t scare me a little.”
Miller told Schad that he suffered one concussion in high school, and sustained two or three others during his time with the Wolverines. However, he only informed the UM medical staff about one of them, stating that “[y]ou’re supposed to be tough in this game.”
Then-head coach Brady Hoke, then-athletic director Dave Brandon and the entire UM athletic department came under intense fire last season after quarterback Shane Morris was put back into the September loss to Minnesota shortly after he sustained what was later determined to be a concussion.
Three months after that firestorm, the Big Ten adopted a conference-wide concussion protocol.