Football and Concussions

Did you see this?

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.


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  • Tim

    Thanks for the post Scot. I didn’t see this, but there’s growing chatter on this and some prophesying on the death of football, especially at the college level; saying that with all this stuff going on in the NFL ranks that moms and dads will be more reticent to allow their boys to play. Thus, leading to the feeder community for the higher levels. I personally don’t see football dying anytime soon, but the consussion controversy is real. You might want to check out these links as well. Malcom Gladwell was interviewed about it and had some hard words–very provocative.

  • DRT

    The time may be right for outlandish actions. Eliminate the facemask and padded helmet. Really.

  • Rick

    I love football, but it is clear that those involved in the sport are concerned and nervous about this, both for the individuals involved, and for the future impact on the sport.

  • Kim

    What can viewers and fans do to expedite change in the way the game is played? I think it is ludicrous that it would continue as is now that the long-term damage of brain injuries has come to light.