Ex-NFL Star’s Unlikely Take On Concussions
Published: May 16, 2012
Ex-NFL Star’s Unlikely Take On Concussions, Ricky Williams might not make some people happy with his opinions on head injuries.Sometimes, the best way to deal with a problem is to pretend that it doesn’t exist. At least, that’s the impression put across by former NFL running back Ricky Williams when he discussed the recent concern about concussions in football with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard. Williams, who played for the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens during an 11-year career in which he gained over 10,000 rushing yards, retired in February. And when it comes the possible effects of the game as he enters a new phase of his life … well, Williams can’t really be bothered.
“I have no idea, and I’m not a really big fan of the way the NFL is handling concussions,” Williams said on Tuesday. “Maybe I’m stupid or whatever, but if I got a concussion, and I could see straight and I could carry a football, I’m not telling anybody … From what I’ve seen, [the NFL is] all about prevention — but can you prevent a concussion? I mean, you can definitely have safer helmets, and I had what I think was the safest helmet when I played, and I think you can definitely pay more attention. But ultimately, it’s about the players. And I think all this attention given to prevention — it seems like they haven’t done anything, because they don’t believe they can actually treat a concussion.”
“Most of the research around concussions is to find that 100 percent of football players have brain trauma. Well — I don’t want someone to tell me that, right? I don’t want someone to tell me that, because if it’s a ‘doctor’ (Williams used air quotes when he said the word ‘doctor’), I don’t buy it.”
The now incredulous Le Batard asked Williams to clarify his stance — did he believe that there is not a link between football and concussions?
“I don’t buy it. I’m only speaking from my personal experience, because I haven’t allowed myself to buy it, and I haven’t been affected. Yes, I’m aware that football is a rough sport, but instead of saying, ‘Oh — I’m doomed to brain trauma,” I said, ‘What can I do about it?’ And I just started taking care of my body. I found people, places, and things that really helped me — again, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in 10 years, but I look at the other things I’ve learned about, and the way I see the world.
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