A rookie NFL wide receiver is retiring at 24 because the 'next hit could possibly kill me'

Adrian Coxson, a 24-year old rookie wide receiver, is retiring from professional football after suffering a severe concussion on the third day of Packers training camp.

“I’m retiring because I’m still having symptoms and my health is more important to me than the game of football,” Coxson told the National Football Post. “It’s been recommended to me by two neurologists and two doctors to retire from football. The next hit to my head could possibly kill me or be life damaging. This last one could be life damaging. It has taken a great toll on me.”

Coxson joins former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland as the second 24-year old to retire this offseason because of the threat of serious injury. The move will likely draw more attention to the issue of long-term health consequences in football as the result of repeated head trauma.

He is the fifth player overall to retire from the NFL this offseason at the age of 30 or younger.

Coxson was an undrafted free agent out of Stony Brook College who signed a three-year deal with the Packers. On August 1, Coxson was taken off the Packers practice field in an ambulance and later diagnosed with a Grade 3 concussion, the most severe grade of concussion, ESPN reports.

The rookie was cut by the Packers on August 17 but eventually reached an injury settlement with the team in addition to the $US5,000 signing bonus he received, according to ESPN. Coxson,
who graduated with a degree in business and African-American studies, says leaving the NFL is tough, but that he still does not feel completely healthy.

“It’s definitely tough. I worked hard all my life and I felt I was achieving my life-long goal. Unfortunately, I got hit in the head in practice and it was really bad for me.” Coxson told the National Football Post. “I couldn’t describe how bad it is. I’m blessed to have my life right now. I’ll see how things work out as far as my health, but my health isn’t in tip-top shape right now because of the concussion.”

On July 30 — two days before suffering his career-ending concussion — Coxson published an article in the Player’s Tribune detailing his road to the NFL, a journey that was nearly derailed multiple times while Coxson took care of his dying father.

“I think about my father every time I step on the field. This is what he wanted, and as long as I have the opportunity to play this game, I won’t take one second of it for granted,” Coxson wrote. “Don’t worry, Dad. I won’t. I’ll make you proud.”

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