Gary Plummer hopes the death of his former teammate Junior Seau sparks a change in the way the NFL sends its players back into society….
Plummer, a former Cal star, played professionally for 15 seasons, starting with the Oakland Invaders of the USFL from 1983-85. He played with the Chargers from 1986-93 and the 49ers from 1994-97. Plummer estimated he endured 1,000 concussions over his career, which he acknowledges is a startling number.
Said Plummer: “In the 1990s, I did a concussion seminar. They said a Grade 3 concussion meant you were knocked out, and a Grade 1 meant you were seeing stars after a hit, which made me burst out in laughter. As a middle linebacker in the NFL, if you don’t have five of these (Grade 1 effects) each game, you were inactive the next game.
“Junior played for 20 years. That’s five concussions a game, easily. How many in his career then? That’s over 1,500 concussions. I know that’s startling, but I know it’s true. I had over 1,000 in my 15 years. I felt the effects of it. I felt depression going on throughout my divorce. Junior went through it with his divorce.”
Since leaving the 49ers broadcast booth a year ago, Plummer has been enjoying retirement, and he typically saw Seau six times a year, including at a charity golf tournament two weeks ago.