Today, we talk to former San Francisco 49er Chris Borland. This is a powerful podcast because Chris was a high school All-American, an All-American at the University of Wisconsin, and was about to have a stellar NFL career. However, after the first season in the NFL, Chris decided to retire from football.
Speaking with him, he mentions how he did get some slack, but there were a lot of people supporting him as well. I had to ask the question that he got thousands of times, "Why?", and his response was with utter class.
He is one of the most intelligent, well-spoken athletes I've ever met and it was a true honor to have him on the podcast discussing his career and the subtleties of his decision.
Thank you, Chris.
ESPN Outside the Lines Reporter and Co-author of League of Denial Mark Fainaru-Wada joins us today to discuss concussions and his experiences in investigative journalism.
The book League of Denial is the one that really woke me up to the severity of concussions and what was happening with them. Growing up, I knew guys who had concussions and knew that it was an issue, but didn't realize the extent of it until this book. Dr. Bennet Omalu, Dr. Ann McKee, and Chris Nowinski became like celebrities to me.
With Mark, we talk about why he does what he does, and the similarities between the BALCO scandal he reported on with steroids, and the current concussions crisis. He also talked about what can be done about this.
I highly encourage you to check out his book at leagueofdenial.com.
So far in the concussion series, we've heard from three former athletes. But today, we don't talk to an athlete, we talk to the wife of a former NFL offensive lineman. I can only imagine what it was like being an offensive lineman in the NFL for 8 seasons, and today we get to hear what it's like for the wife of one of these athletes.
This is illuminating, because what happens in a sport doesn't just affect the one person. It affects that person's family, friends, and community, who also have to experience the symptoms as well.
We touch on the NFL, their response to the concussion crisis, and Liz takes us into her story and dealings with the NFL. Overall, a powerful podcast from a different perspective in athletics.
Jay Fraga, founder of The Knockout Project, joins us to discuss his experiences with concussions.
A week before we did this podcast, legendary BMX racer Dave Mirra committed suicide. He had been open about how he was dealing with concussions, and Dave's death hit me and Jay hard. Jay was a BMX racer for many years, so it was even particularly hard for him to deal with.
In this episode, Jay talks about the concussions he's had, his inspiration for starting The Knockout Project, and a particular time when he was driving down the road when everything went mentally blank, and he had no idea where he was going or why he was going there. This episode is an illuminating dive into someone who still experiences concussions symptoms, but who is doing everything he can to help people dealing with this.
For more information, and for extremely powerful articles about athletes who have experienced concussions, go to his website theknockoutproject.org.