NFL player's retirement raises awareness, concern - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

NFL player's retirement raises awareness, concern

Rich Miano Rich Miano
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

"Anterior cruciate reconstruction, plantar fascia release, this finger has no ligaments, this shoulder is sticking out." 

11-year NFL veteran Rich Miano knows the cost of a football life, paid in injuries, countless concussions, head trauma--and the devastating results of it.

"My teammate Andre Waters committed suicide when he was 50. My colleague, Dave Duerson committed suicide".

Both men had deteriorated brain tissue caused by repeated trauma. The fear of that is the exact reason Chris Borland chose to retire. The 24-year old 49ers linebacker had played only one season in the NFL, but after consulting medical experts and his family in the ooff season chose to walk away from the game, and he's not the only one.

"Tackle football has went from 10 million participants to 9 million, so you've lost 10 percent," said Miano. 

Participation is dropping as concussion awareness is rising.

"When we first started there was about 200 reported concussions annually. Based on our last 2013-2014 report, we have over 1300 reported concussions."

Dr. Nathan Murata runs HCAMP - the Hawaii Concussion Awareness Management Program. Those numbers come from all high school sports in the state of Hawaii.

In addition to the numbers, he sees a shifting attitude towards head injuries.

"Once upon a time, you don't say you had a concussion. Now, the severity of it, to the point where people are stopping their professional livelihoods because of the potential for severe long term dangers. They're realizing this stuff is really serious." 

Miano calls Borland a trailblazer, and says parents and athletes need to continually ask if the risk is worth the reward. For him?

"I would do it all over again." 

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