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.