Since the NFL started back in 1920 players have been taking hits everywhere throughout the body but most body parts will heal over time, whether with rest or reconstructive surgery. In the MLB for example, roughly 19 MLB pitchers underwent season ending Tommy John Surgery in 2014, but these players torn UCL’s will recover over time and they will be back in the MLB sooner or later; however, concussions in the NFL are something that could end a players career, no matter what position you play. On August 23, 2014, Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker suffered his third concussion since November 17, 2013. This is an injury that can put not only his career, but his long term mental health, in danger.
Welker has had a series of head injuries earlier in his career with the New England Patriots and unfortunately for the Denver Broncos they may be forced to choose a players health throughout his life over the team. While the NFL is doing all that it can to help prevent these injuries, it may be wise of the league to start forcing certain players to retire.
Currently Welker wears an enlarged helmet to help prevent concussions but clearly, since the hit by Dj Swearinger gave him a concussion, the helmet isn’t full-proof and the tricky part is knowing when players are fully healed from concussions. In 2012, at the age of 24 years old, an extremely talented running back for the Detroit Lions named Jahvid Best was forced to retire because of a history of concussions. In 2010 during a college game he was left unconscious on the field and after playing only 22 games in the NFL, the über talented back out of Cal was retired.
No matter what the NFL does to try to help these players, some are either prone to concussions or extremely unlucky where they get hit. But no matter how many rule changes the NFL attempts to employ, there will always be concussions and I feel that after a certain number within a years time, players should be either forced to retire or sit out the remainder of the season. Wes Welker has enjoyed an extremely prominent career but I feel it is time for him to hang up his cleats at 34 years old. Repeated head injuries that can jeopardize the players long term health, isn’t worth an NFL career.