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Jacob Bell, an offensive lineman with the Cincinnati Bengals is retiring from the NFL citing the fear of injuries and the recent suicide of Junior Seau as determining factors.His comments to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are an eye-opening look into the psyche of an NFL player in a time when the sport is under fire for the brutal hits and injuries that leave some suffering long after their careers are over…
“The reality is that for me it came down to risk and reward. I think you’ve always got to weigh that out. At some point, you’ve got to kind of figure out what you’re in the game for…One of my biggest concerns when it comes to the game in general is my personal health. One thing that’s obviously on the minds of a lot of people lately is brain research and all the stuff that’s going on with that. One of the big things that I thought about when I was considering this is how much do I love the game? How much can they pay me to take away my health and my future and being able to be with my family and just have a healthy lifestyle?”
Bell was also asked about the recent suicide of Seau and if he would be retiring if Seau were still alive. Bell called the death, “the cherry on top,” and added…
“That’s a good question…I’ve been thinking about some different things, thinking about health, thinking about the future of my family having to deal with some kind of crazy disease that nobody even knows about, where people want their brains studied after they’re dead. Donating their brains to research..It’s just crazy to see how someone like Junior Seau took his own life over — God knows what he was really struggling and dealing with. But you have to believe it came from the game of football. I want to get out before the game makes me get out, where I can get out on my own terms, and I can limit the amount of stress and negative impact that the game would leave on me.”
Bell also said that injuries below the neck were also a factor, citing a former coach that struggled with jogging after a 13-year career.
But ultimately, it was sounds like the head injuries are what scare Bell the most. He estimates that, based on the loosest definition, he suffered a “minimum of 30 concussions” per season.
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