As Hall of Fame quarterback and FOX analyst Troy Aikman prepares to call Sunday’s wild-card game between the Packers and Eagles, he talked to Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel regarding an issue that Aikman doesn’t talk much about on the air.
He says he’s reluctant to become associated with concussions. “I shouldn’t be the poster boy for head injury,” Aikman said. “I have really tried to distance myself from that. I’m 44 years old. I’m completely healthy. I have an active lifestyle. I don’t want to be looked at as one who is experiencing some of these things that other players talk about. Because I’m not. I have been asked to go talk to Congress. I declined. I have not done interviews on it.”
Aikman also said that he avoids the topic because every player experiences concussions differently. “[T]o try to talk about my experience and how it relates to someone who is dealing with it in today’s game, Aaron Rodgers for instance, I don’t think I’m really on top of what that guy is feeling,” Aikman said.
Still, Aikman shared some details regarding his own concussions, two of which sound alarming.
“I had one my rookie year,” Aikman said. “I was knocked out cold for 10 minutes. I had blood coming from my ear. The second was I got knocked out in the ’93 season NFC championship game against San Francisco. I got knocked out in the third quarter. I spent the night in the hospital. They asked me questions. I didn’t know what planet I was on. I still to this day have no recollection of ever having played in that game. So whenever I see footage of that game, it’s like somebody else is out there doing it.”
The fact that Aikman has no lingering problems shows that not every player who has sustained multiple head injuries while playing football or other sports will have long-term health problems. But Aikman possibly has decided to refrain from talking about it as a way to avoid tempting fate.
That said, plenty of NFL players never develop health issues from concussions. It’s important to keep that in mind as the league contemplates strategies for reducing the total number of concussions that players suffer.