There have been plenty of cases in the past where an NFL player’s career gets ruined by injuries. Whether it be a knee injury, a torn Achilles, a bad back or whatever else you can imagine.
Unfortunately, this type of thing just happens. Something that the NFL hasn’t seen much of, is multiple concussions forcing a player into an early retirement. Players have chosen to retire due to their long-term healthy concerns, while others have gotten up there in age and just taken too many big hits. For Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields, there’s a real argument to be made that he should retire strictly due to concussions.
Obviously, at just 28 years old, Shields is more than capable of making his own life decisions. Also, the media doesn’t know how Shields’ body and mind are reacting to his concussions, but unfortunately the most recent one he suffered back in Week 1 of the season is apparently bad enough that it’s sent him to the injured reserve.
What’s equally as concerning about the concussion that’s going to put Shields out for at least eight weeks, is that Garafolo points out that this is the fifth concussion of his career. That’s a big number when it comes to serious contact to the head, especially since Shields is only in his seventh NFL season. Through 80 games, the Packers starting cornerback has five concussions, but none worse than what he suffered in 2016.
Obviously, Shields’ focus is to return to the field as soon as he’s well, which is understandable from a competitive standpoint. Shields posted on his Instagram on Tuesday to let Packers fans know that he’d be back as soon as he’s fully recovered.
Through his 80 career games, Shields has totaled 245 combined tackles, 66 passes defensed and an impressive 18 interceptions. He’s proven to be a major asset to the Packers secondary, and it goes without saying that the team has missed him over the past four games. Specifically, the Packers have allowed seven touchdowns while intercepting just two passes in the past three games.
What’s even more concerning about Shields’ concussion history, is how his most recent one happened. As Ryan Wood of USA TODAY pointed out, it wasn’t a brutal collision that caused the concussion, but instead was just a hard routine tackle. Wood then pointed to a statement about concussions from Dr. Vernon Williams of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology, which stated that each concussion will take longer to get better.
“If we see a pattern where each concussion takes longer to get better,” Williams said, “the symptoms are more severe, or if we see a pattern where a person is more and more easily concussed. Like, if the first time it takes a big blow, an 80-G impact, a kickoff return where a person gets blown up and everybody in the stadium notices it. And then before long, there’s just kind of a routine hit, or a routine fall to the ground, and the person is concussed.”
All of that is just bad news for Shields, as five concussions are definitely too many for a player to take. Whether or not he chooses to call it a career or not, there’s definitely concern about the Packers cornerback moving forward.