NFL players giving up millions and retiring out of nowhere before age 30 is becoming a trend

Four NFL players aged 30 or under have retired in surprising fashion since the 2015 league year began in early March.

All of them did so voluntarily, giving up millions of dollars in the process.

The latest player to retire, 24-year-old San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, quit because he worried about his long-term brain health.

“I just want to live a long healthy life, and I don’t want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise,” he told ESPN.

The four player who’ve walked away:

While only Borland cited concussion concerns as a reason for his retirement, it’s fair to assume that what we’ve learned about head trauma over the last five years is changing the risk-reward calculus for professional players.

Even those who are deeply involved in the sport acknowledge that retiring early is a smart move:

The important thing to note here is that Borland didn’t have what we’d call a long history of concussions. Both of his diagnosed concussions came before he entered the NFL, he told ESPN. But recent research suggests that repeated head trauma — the type of routine contact that’s inherent to the game of football — could have dire long-term health effects even if it doesn’t result in a diagnosed concussion.

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