Skip to content

At age 30, Randall Gay lives with concussion symptoms in retirement

randallgay Getty Images

Former Patriots and Saints defensive back Randall Gay turned 30 this month, and although there was once a time when he figured he’d still be playing in the NFL at this age, he says the symptoms of concussions make a return to the game impossible.

Gay went on injured reserve with his last concussion in 2010 and didn’t play at all in 2011, and he told the Boston Herald there’s no way he’d be able to play now.

I can’t play anymore. I wish I could, but I’m still having symptoms from concussions,” Gay said. “I wanted to try again, but I can’t really do anything. Hard, physical activities, I get headaches and nauseous and dizzy and stuff. I’d still like a chance in the NFL, but it’s not worth it.”

Gay, who played for the Patriots from 2004 to 2007 and the Saints from 2008 to 2009, said he doesn’t know how many concussions he has suffered and didn’t know much about concussions during his playing days.

“It’s scary because you don’t know enough about it,” Gay said. “When you play football, it’s the effect of everybody just wants to deal with it. All right, my ankle hurts? I can deal with it. My arm hurts? But I can deal with it. It’s not hurting enough where I can’t play. Then you’ve got the headaches, the concussion thing. I’ve got a headache, but I can deal with it. That’s the mindset that you go through your whole life with. But then it gets to the point where you don’t know enough about head injuries to just say I can deal with it. You might be able to deal with it today, but you don’t know what tomorrow holds. That’s the scary thing about it. That’s the decision you don’t want to make. I love the game of football, and I feel like I can deal with the headaches or just being nauseous. Just being a little dizzy, I can deal with it, but you just never know what it’s going to bring later.”

For Gay, what the concussions brought was an early end to his football career, and a tough time in retirement.

Permalink 44 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
44 Responses to “At age 30, Randall Gay lives with concussion symptoms in retirement”
  1. jtm12180 says: May 29, 2012 7:21 AM

    I applaud Gay for recognizing the fact that there’s much more to life than football! Sadly, many don’t until it’s too late…

  2. treesloth16 says: May 29, 2012 7:33 AM

    Even if you wrap yourself up in foam wrapping from head to toe and run into a brick wall at 30mph, you’ll still induce some trauma to your brain. Excess padding isn’t going to do anything. It’s the immediate deceleration when you hit the wall, that causes your brain (moving at 30mph) to hit the side of your skull (now moving at zero mph). This happens because your brain is encased in CNS fluid inside the skull. This will happen any time the football player gets hit, hard or soft. Furthermore, this will happen even if the impact is in the center of the body and not the head.

    Accumulation of these hits over a 10 yr career will eventually cause serious brain damage (even low-impact hits). Football players should either sign waivers before joining the NFL, college, high-school, or even peewee league. Brain damage from high impacts can never be prevented unless you eliminate the game of football itself.

  3. acetw says: May 29, 2012 7:56 AM

    If only GODell would actually DO something about these problems instead of just paying them lip service….

  4. cooklynn17 says: May 29, 2012 8:16 AM

    How did that happen? This guy never hit a thing.

    Besides, this guy just said he would still be playing and wants too play but can’t anymore because of the headaches and stuff. If the headaches went away he would be on the field, not worried about his health, do you know why…….probably for about 2 million dollars. The players are there own worst enemy. Its a dangerous sport, if you don’t want to get hurt than don’t play.

    How many military soldiers do you hear complain about being shot or losing a limb? And then turn around and sue the government claiming we didn’t know we could get hurt or injured. Its a tired act from the players. Oh and to the best of knowledge the soldiers are not even close to making the kind of money a pro athlete makes. Embarrassing say the least.

  5. piemasteruk says: May 29, 2012 8:18 AM

    Sounds like a prelude to a lawsuit

  6. Ghost Rat says: May 29, 2012 8:23 AM

    If only GODell would actually DO something about these problems instead of just paying them lip service….
    ————————————————-

    Really? That’s your contribution to a serious question?

    Exactly what can anyone do about the acceleration/deceleration that treesloth16 referred to?The NFL is looking at helmets and padding, but these will not cure the problem.

    The best that can be done is to minimize such injuries, and players and coaches bear some of the responsibility. Teaching proper tackling techniques is a good start; players should neither be leading with their heads (even I was taught the right tackling method in high school over thirty years ago) nor gunning for the opposing player’s head. And as Florio pointed out over the weekend, coaches should not be in the business of celebrating illegal hits (Mike Tomlin), let along putting bounties on the heads of other players (Gregg Williams).

    Foot ball is a physically violent game, but that is not an excuse for the players and coaches to behave like Neanderthals. Proper techniques and better/more padding will help mitigate some of the risk, but football will always be a dangerous sport.

  7. paperlions says: May 29, 2012 8:23 AM

    Here is the complete list of people in NFL history that have done more to protect players from injury, including concussions, than the current regime:

  8. redwingfan1234 says: May 29, 2012 8:29 AM

    Treesloth… I hope you realize human beings can’t run at 30 mph.

  9. Patriot42 says: May 29, 2012 8:33 AM

    The league action on injuries may look minor when some of these suits that the players filed gets settled. No matter if the players knew that it was a dangerous sport will matter little when billions will be payed out by the league.

  10. despinosa8 says: May 29, 2012 8:54 AM

    How do we know he’s symptoms did start with his parents dropping him as a toddler?

  11. leo133074 says: May 29, 2012 9:12 AM

    They are ruining the game! Why not make it flag footbal!! put skirts on them – waaaaaaaahwaaaaaaaah!!! Mommy!

  12. j0esixpack says: May 29, 2012 9:24 AM

    despinosa8 says: How do we know he’s symptoms did start with his parents dropping him as a toddler?

    I’ve got no problems with jokes made in bad taste… but if you’re gonna do that, at least make the jokes funny.

    On a serious side there’s no “one” description of post-concussive syndrome. In Seau’s case it seems like it added to his depression, and grew slowly over the years.

    In Gay’s case it’s one of the more textbook cases of a more immediate over-sensitivity to stimuli causing debilitation – which itself can cause many to become depressed and suicidal.

    I don’t want to see the game become flag football but I think parents, children, players and coaches should all be made aware of the risks – with rules set to protect youth and players alike

  13. electionconfidential says: May 29, 2012 9:24 AM

    I don’t think kids in high school and peewee football are old enough to sign waivers…

  14. rdly49ers says: May 29, 2012 9:29 AM

    Yup I agree u never can take the hits out of the game.bottom line they get paid a lot of money..if u wanna play football sign a waiver cause at this rate the NFL is gonna be hung up to dry….with all these lawsuite going on.either sign it or don’t play . Go Niners

  15. ep2404 says: May 29, 2012 9:31 AM

    @cooklynn17 when military personal lose a limb they get a check from the government for the rest of their life.

  16. lolb23 says: May 29, 2012 9:31 AM

    Randall Gay also lives with millions of dollars in retirement.

  17. boz0sforall says: May 29, 2012 9:35 AM

    YES! An article that references the Patriots! Now is my time to SHINE!

    Cheating, tainted, asteriks, yadda, yadda, yadda, you know, the same tired old stuff…

    Tom Dreamboat Brady is my idol though!

  18. jimbo75025 says: May 29, 2012 9:37 AM

    cooklynn17 says:May 29, 2012 8:16 AM

    Besides, this guy just said he would still be playing and wants too play but can’t anymore because of the headaches and stuff. If the headaches went away he would be on the field, not worried about his health, do you know why…….probably for about 2 million dollars. The players are there own worst enemy. Its a dangerous sport, if you don’t want to get hurt than don’t play.

    __________

    Yup, if someone were willing to pay him enough then he would be back in a heartbeat. My translation of this is-“I think I made enough $$ to live well for the rest of my life, but just in case I am going to leave the possibility of a lawsuit open in case I blow my money”.

    Everyone beyond the age of 10 who has ever suited up knows the risks. Chances are they have seen someone break limbs or get knocked silly-few people stop playing because of risks because they enjoy the game, starting in HS the pretty girls that come with being a football star, special treatment. You cannot have it both ways-take the risks and hope you make millions or shut up and live by your brains or learned trade like the rest of us.

  19. mybrunoblog says: May 29, 2012 9:38 AM

    Wait. Recent study showed NFL players outlive regular Americans. Also recently revealed, the NFLPA refuses to wear additional safety pads as required by their employer.
    Quick! Get me D SMith on the phone I have lots of questions. What? He is busy planning the next big appeal of safety rules? Nevermind.

  20. kevsright says: May 29, 2012 9:40 AM

    He is RETIRED at the age of 30!!

    Made damn good money, too.
    Sorry, no sympathy for men who have played football since the age of, what.. 8 years old?

    These lawsuits by retired players are B.S. Hope they all get thrown out of court.

  21. erod22 says: May 29, 2012 10:00 AM

    redwingsfan1234:

    I hope you realize that if one player is running 20 mph one direction, and another player is running 20 mph straight at him, that is the same thing as running into a brick wall at 40 mph.

    LOL, treesloth apparently gets physics better than you.

  22. lolb23 says: May 29, 2012 10:04 AM

    These lawsuits by retired players are B.S. Hope they all get thrown out of court.
    _________________________________

    They will, and here’s why:

    Players receive concussions in pee wee, grade school, high school and college football.

    Players take steroids, HGH and do tons of other drugs.

    Good luck coming out looking like the victim when the defense attorney uses these things against players.

    No jury in the world will ever convict the NFL when presented a simple defense. This whole thing is a total waste of time and tax payer money.

  23. nrmeagles says: May 29, 2012 10:09 AM

    These lawsuits seem similar to the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990’s, but if it is true that the NFL concealed what they new about CTE, and the affects cumulative concussions, they are going to lose a lot of money.

    Players know the danger, and assume the risk…..but I don’t think young guys are thinking about what will happen when they are 50 years old.

  24. jessethegreat says: May 29, 2012 10:20 AM

    Perhaps if he had displayed some ethics when playing the game, and not just went along with what the 2 cheating teams were doing at the time, karma would have spared him?

  25. hedleykow says: May 29, 2012 10:32 AM

    When Tom Brady crashes his helmet into the helmets of fellow teammates to get pumped up before the start of a game, that gives me a headache. I feel your pain, Randall.

  26. pooflingingmonkey says: May 29, 2012 10:35 AM

    Gay should name Adrian Peterson as the main cause for his dilemma. I’ve never seen a football player get run over the way Peterson did him.

  27. jmoney68 says: May 29, 2012 10:45 AM

    The reason why these guys get paid what they do is because very few people on the planet can play this game at the level they can play (otherwise everyone would be doing it). It does not mean that what they do is worth more to society vs a soldier, policeman or teacher, but is more of a response to what the market is paying for a high-caliber athlete with those skill-sets, so comparing what they do to other walks of life is like comparing apples to oranges. I wish someone would pay me 20+ million dollars to perform my job, but that will never happen because it is far easier to find people who can do my job versus finding someone who run 4.3 forty with a 40″ vertical leap. Plus, millions of people will not pay large amounts of money to watch me work. That’s why bickering about what athletes, actors, CEO’s, etc. are paid is pointless in my view. As for the complaining, the only reason you don’t hear a policeman, teacher or soldier complain about what they do (i’ve been a defense contractor for 20 years and i hear soldiers complain about all sorts of things everyday) is because they don’t have a microphone shoved in their faces every five minutes.

    That being said, in the quest to put the biggest, strongest and fastest on the field, the increase in risk of severe injuries comes along with it. In the end, it’s a wash in my opinion because they are well compensated (I would even argue that part of the level of compensation is because of the forgone conclusion that severe injury will occur at some point) and should plan appropriately if they are going to assume the risk. If they don’t, it’s at their own peril but i don’t harbor any ill will towards them as far as their compensation.

  28. fiveaces20000 says: May 29, 2012 10:51 AM

    Even though human beings can’t run 30 mph, when they run into another person head on it is like being in a car accident going 30 or more 10 to 15 Times a game if not more. That is what I think he meant. I don’t know about you, but if I am in one car accident I am going to the doctor to get checked out if I can.

  29. naanunaanu says: May 29, 2012 11:31 AM

    i can see the Schedule being like every other week or games like every 12 days or something like that to help the players recover. we can have football all year

  30. bullcharger says: May 29, 2012 11:35 AM

    So he can’t play anymore. Same as if he blew out his knee badly or had a chronic foot problem. A head injury is still an injury.

    Have you seen ex offensive linmen hobbling around in their 50s on TV? There are negative long term health effects from playing NFL football. Just like Boxing (Seen Ali and Frazier lately?), MMA, Hockey, racing cars, and motor cycles, downhill skiing etc.

    People choose to take these risks. The leagues work to make it safer, but the NFL is a warrior sport. Players are making a choice to potentially have long term health concerns for a chance at fame and glory. Later they may regret it, but they made the choice and fans like to watch these kind of contests. They have since the time of the Roman Gladiators.

  31. bullcharger says: May 29, 2012 11:42 AM

    ep2404 says:May 29, 2012 9:31 AM

    @cooklynn17 when military personal lose a limb they get a check from the government for the rest of their life.

    —————-

    Many NFL players get their fair share of hazzard pay. Much more than a lifetime of military checks.

  32. erod22 says: May 29, 2012 12:05 PM

    Bottom line: 90 percent of the the players in this league have no other way of earning near what they get as NFL players.

    Don’t like it? Try harder in school. Geez, first you gotta show up for class.

  33. jpiro says: May 29, 2012 12:23 PM

    The key to all of this, from a legal perspective, is going to be disclosure.

    If the NFL can prove that it shared all it knew about brain injuries and players chose to participate anyway, they’ll be fine.

    If the players (or ex-players) can prove that the NFL knew it was more dangerous than they let on but kept the money machine churning by running players through without fully alerting them to the potential long-term threats to their health, they’ll pay in a very, very major way.

    The poster who compared this to the tobacco lawsuits is dead on.

  34. besdayz says: May 29, 2012 1:08 PM

    This is really sad. The NFL needs to do something about this instead of the current farce about “player safety” they are engaged in, ie punishing saints, imposing fines, all the while attempting to get an 18 game schedule, and denying worker’s compensation and health claims of hundreds of former players.

    The technology is there for better helmets. And they gotta police the steroids rampant that create bigger and faster players who will collide with each other more dangerously.

    Maybe the multi billion dollar lawsuit will bring them down to sense and they will stop pretending to do the right thing and actually do it…..

  35. peepeetoucher says: May 29, 2012 1:10 PM

    When are we as people going to start to be responsible for ourselves and own decisions/actions? Nobody forced them to play sports. In what way should the NFL be responsible for a player getting hurt and concussions. Even if the NFL allegedly held back info on concussions (Dunno why they would) common sense knows you risk getting a serious injury with any contact sports especially anything involving the head. As for kids, it up to the parents to make that choice. That’s what being a parent is about, to make choices for your kids until they are old enough to do so on their own. However I do think the NFL should pay health insurance for qualified players who receive pensions, but why should they have to pay out settlements to players who got concussions because THEY didn’t think about this risk beforehand. Is that anyone’s fault but their own?

  36. billsfan1 says: May 29, 2012 1:49 PM

    isnt the NFLPA supposed to protect players? or do they just file lawsuits after the damage has been done?

    and correct me if i am wrong, but hasnt the NFLPA been around for quite some time?
    maybe they should start being more proactive about this….

    id like to see the NFL PA sued for negligence in protecting its players that it serves…..

  37. billsfan1 says: May 29, 2012 1:49 PM

    isnt the NFLPA supposed to protect players? or do they just file lawsuits after the damage has been done?

    and correct me if i am wrong, but hasnt the NFLPA been around for quite some time?
    maybe they should start being more proactive about this….

    id like to see the NFL PA sued for negligence in protecting its players that it serves…..

  38. Hammerjacker says: May 29, 2012 1:51 PM

    ep2404 says:
    May 29, 2012 9:31 AM
    @cooklynn17 when military personal lose a limb they get a check from the government for the rest of their life.
    ————————————————

    Yeah…. Worth less than the average middle class income, plus they have permanently lost their leg/hand whatever. I think keeping all your limbs and independedance while having millions of dollars and getting occasional headaches is similar huh? Your right. Idiot.

  39. mineallmine001 says: May 29, 2012 2:09 PM

    Treesloth… I hope you realize human beings can’t run at 30 mph.

    ————————————————-

    I assume you slept in physics class?

    If two objects collide the speed is added together. For instance if two players running 15mph collide that would be equivalent to 30mph collision of a stationary object.

    Alot of variables exist but you have to take into account the speed/direction(acceleration) of both objects .

  40. kidfootball says: May 29, 2012 2:49 PM

    Here is my proposal:

    1: Reduce pad level. Allow the players to feel the hits, (realistic feedback) the level of padding has become dangerous. They feel invincible on the field.

    2: Shorten the cleat. It slows the player down, also reduces the ability of a player to launch themselves into another player. They have to learn to play under control.

  41. exhelodrvr says: May 29, 2012 3:13 PM

    “Excess padding isn’t going to do anything. It’s the immediate deceleration when you hit the wall, that causes your brain ”

    Excess padding will help make the deceleration somewhat more gradual for the collisions where the helmet hits something.

    And most hits don’t involve an “immediate” deceleration, just the ones which are purely “head on” – the others either have a sideways component, or are tackles from behind would have a slower deceleration.

    So helmet changes would definitely help. How much they would help would need to be researched.

  42. jessethegreat says: May 29, 2012 3:34 PM

    At the rate the former NFL’ers are suing, it won’t be long until we see springs on the outside of helmets and airbags on the inside.

  43. lucky5934 says: May 30, 2012 2:03 AM

    acetw says:
    May 29, 2012 7:56 AM
    If only GODell would actually DO something about these problems instead of just paying them lip service….

    ————————————————–
    What’s the answer genius? Two-hand touch or flag fotoball? We could stick a 2 foot padded mushroom helmet on players, but they don’t even want to wear leg pads. These players ultimately are responsible for their decision to play such a violent game. They choose financial security, playing a game they love, and concussion symptoms over a crappy job, living paycheck to paycheck, and being healthier. As many of us would.

  44. iwillalwaysownyou says: May 31, 2012 12:17 AM

    boz0sforall says:
    May 29, 2012 9:35 AM
    YES! An article that references the Patriots! Now is my time to SHINE!

    Cheating, tainted, asteriks, yadda, yadda, yadda, you know, the same tired old stuff…

    Tom Dreamboat Brady is my idol though!

     10 38 

    ___
    How pathetic of a Pats fan loser do you have to be to resort to creating an imposter account to chase after an anonymous poster who haunts your every waking moment?

    I OWN YOU, Imposter.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!