Despite the mounting lawsuits, injuries and preventative steps to avoid concussions in the game of professional football, there is at least one former player who doesn’t believe the hype. Former NFL running back Ricky Williams, who was taken with the fifth overall draft pick in 1999 by the New Orleans Saints and went on to play for Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens in the past 11 seasons, told ESPN’s Dan LeBatard in a radio interview that he “doesn’t buy” the link between playing football and concussions.
Williams, who retired following the 2011 NFL season, had this to say:
“I don’t buy it. I’m only speaking from personal experience,and because I’ve never allowed myself to buy it, I haven’t been the effect of it…Yes I’m aware that football is a rough sport, but instead of saying ‘Oh, I’m doomed to brain trauma’, I said ‘Well, what can I do about this?’ And I just started taking care of my body”
Williams, who famously “retired” from football in 2004 following a marijuana charge, and spent his time off to study the Indian holistic healing practice of Ayurveda, may or may not know a thing or two about taking care of his body. He did tell LeBatard that his offseason healing process consisted of yoga, visits to a chiropractor, and massage therapy.
Still, Williams did leave the door open for the possibility of concussions (or at least head trauma), an injury he himself never sustained during his pro career, having ill effects on him later in life:
“Ten years from now, I might be walking down the street scratching my head and yelling profanities, but right now I feel fine.”
He also voiced his concerns over the way the NFL has handled head trauma:
“They haven’t done anything because they don’t know how to treat a concussion….I’m not a fan of the way the NFL is handling concussions. Maybe I’m stupid, or whatever.”
Well said, Ricky. Well said.