Tyler Varga: Fans should get used to players retiring earlier

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Running back Tyler Varga was willing to speak out last year, when he didn’t want to take a medication the Colts offered in the wake of a concussion.

And now that he’s retired from the NFL after one season, he says stories like his are going to become more and more common.

People shouldn’t be surprised when they hear about players retiring young,” Varga told Bob Kravitz of WTHR. “You’re seeing it more and more often these days.

“Players are far more educated now about the risks involved in playing football. Guys are more aware of the risks involved.”

For Varga, the risk was a drug which had side effects he feared, which included possible psychotic behavior. The Colts offered it in the wake of his concussion, but after researching, he chose to decline the offer.

“In the end, you just have to weigh the risk versus reward, do a cost/benefit analysis, and I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the risk,” Varga said. “I didn’t want to risk another big one [concussion] and having it impact my quality of life down the road. It was a difficult decision; it always is when you work so hard toward a goal and finally reach that goal, but after a long period of reflection, I felt like this was the best decision for my future.”

Varga laughed and said “I think I’ll take a pass on that one,” when asked if he trusted the league and its teams on the long-term effects of concussions.

The NFL has at least shown some interest in changing that perception, farming out controversial Dr. Elliott Pellman last week, removing someone viewed as a symbol of years of concussion-denial. And Varga’s well-prepared for his future without football, with a Yale degree in hand and likely the ability to make a living beyond what he’d have in a few more years of playing in the NFL.

And he considers himself one of the lucky ones.

17 responses to “Tyler Varga: Fans should get used to players retiring earlier

  1. The guy sucked, so the risk/reward wasn’t so great for him. Now he is yapping it up. Talk to Megatron. That is with listening to.

  2. “Players are far more educated now about the risks involved in playing football.”

    Roger Staubach was educated in 1980 when he retired. Was he just more intelligent than everyone else who claims they didn’t know about long term concussion effects?

  3. I’ve been used to it for about 30 years, because this nothing new at all.

  4. varga could not cut it so he retired.
    Now just shooting his mouth off to stay relevant.

  5. Why do people always think players go running to the media and request their opinions be broadcast?

    The guy is just answering a question asked of him. Adverse reactions are why more guys don’t answer more questions.

  6. Let’s be honest here. This guy graduated from Yale. Yale graduates are generally doing quite well, even if they never played football. Most NFL players didn’t go to Yale. Most players didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in their mouths. Guys that are trying to take care of their families have to take risks. I just had an 80′ high tree removed from my yard. The guy that climbed the tree, probably wouldn’t have put his life on the line if he had a degree from Yale.

  7. abninf says:

    Roger Staubach was educated in 1980 when he retired. Was he just more intelligent than everyone else who claims they didn’t know about long term concussion effects?


    Staubach and players of his era did not know the long-term dangers of concussion. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the long-term effects of head trauma (both concussions and sub-concussive blows) began to be understood.

    When Staubach retired, it wasn’t because he was afraid of the long-term effects of concussions. He had been told that another concussion might cause him immediate permanent damage. Staubach was told that if he retired his brain would heal over time and be good as new, like healing from a broken arm.

    That’s wrong. That’s what’s been learned in the 36 years since Staubach retired. An injured brain never heals good as new. It’s not like a broken bone that heals fine.

  8. Retiring young? You mean not making the cut? Fact is, plenty of guys will continue to abuse their bodies and brains for millions upon millions…
    But yeah I suppose we’ll see a lot of fringe/3rd stringers/first round busts call it quits early…
    Make a quick check and off to real life.

  9. Maybe for the next few year until all the uncertain ones left in the league decide to retire early. If they want out, oh well.

    With all the numbers out there now, young players will be able to make an educated decision on whether to pursue a professional football career or not, instead of starting one and then deciding a year or two later to quit, like we’ve seen lately.

    They now know up front and we’ll get the hardcore players who still want to bang their bodies around.

  10. ……This JUST IN…Rodger Goodell has forbid ANY team from employing players from a IVY league school………it’s just not worth the risk for the NFL owners to have smart guys in the league.

  11. Even if his Yale degree is in sports & leisure studies, it’s still a YALE degree.
    What sucks is the guy who bails early from school with no degree & zero real credits towards one & then he ends up having to look at the risk/reward. I’m guessing that guy takes the risk.

  12. Wow some of you people are either scum or just uneducated.

    We are going to judge him bc he went to Yale and assume he was born with a silver spoon?
    Some people just work hard and take advantage of their intelligence.

    He is a scrub….but he made the team??? How so?

    It was mentioned the side effects could be psychotic episodes….

    I guess you passionate NFL fans just want more guys like Titus Young and Joseph Randle retiring when their brains force them too

  13. Good luck to you Mr. Varga. You made the choice that you deemed to be best for you. That’s fine. But, please don’t project your opinions as speaking for others. That wasn’t asked. It’s clear that you don’t love football enough to take on the risks associated with it. That’s fine too.

    As far as the side effects being psychotic episodes, there was no mention of the risk of having a psychotic episode. There are many drugs where there’s a potential of death as a side effect, but it’s a very slim chance. There was no mention here of the actual chance that he could suffer a psychotic episode, so let’s not go all Trump-like on the matter and overreact about the actual risk.

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