Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields is dealing with the fifth documented concussion of his career. Shields hasn’t been ruled out for Week 2 and there is no official word on where he goes from here, but it’s worth considering the possibility that his career could come to an end over the injury.
Shields sustained his concussion on what looked like a routine tackle of Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon’s shoulder. He’s taken some massive hits to the head in his career, but in comparison this one seemed routine, as noted by Ryan Wood of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
Dr. Vernon Williams of the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology said that there is no “magic number” for when a player should walk away, according to Wood. The concerning aspect of multiple concussions is when a pattern develops that sees a player sustain concussions without having to take massive hits.
“If we see a pattern where each concussion takes longer to get better, the symptoms are more severe, or if we see a pattern where a person is more and more easily concussed,” Williams said. “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.
Shields is still in the early stages of recovering from his Week 1 concussion. The 28-year-old defensive back is in the third year of a four-year, $39 million deal. He is set to make $9 million next season and that could be a factor in whether or not he continues to play football.
There has been no official word that retirement is even a possibility at that stage, but with more and more awareness on the seriousness of head injuries, it certainly seems possible.