Matt Harris - Retired At 21 With No Regrets

Matt Harris, a young man who played for the Northwestern University with a very promising career ahead of him is hanging his boots due to concussion injuries that have led him to experience memory loss. 

Harris played as a star defensive back for the Wildcats and the injury led him to give up his NFL dreams. He believes that he achieved his success due to several factors which included support from his family and friends. Playing the game was tough and he acknowledges that it is these people who kept him motivated and who let his star shine.

Harris played as a senior captain and during this period, he recorded double digit tackles and consistently received the Big Ten honors. Only at 21, he retired when he was headed to his fifth and final seasons while in college. Harris who graduated now works at Education Funding Partners in Chicago.

Very few players choose to end their football careers this early. However, it was necessary that he retires due to his health. Even if there is no official number on the official players who have retired early due to medical health issues, the number of young people quitting their careers has increased recently due to concussions. During this spring, two other players retired early from their careers due to concussions; Justin Holt who played a defensive linesman for Arizona and John Plattenburg of Southern California.

When Harris and other players started playing the game, they were told that concussions were part of the game and they took a casual approach but now more than ever, more and more players are having reservations over joining the NFL. At times, these health issues may last for a lifetime and may even lead to death.

Harris was born in Chicago and his father died when he was only 10 years old. He later started his football career so that he could cope with the death. The focus and camaraderie that the sport gave him together with the adrenaline rush made him forget. When he began playing, he knew the dangers of concussions and in high school, he experienced few of them. Before the last game where he took the hardest hit in his 10 years of the game, he had never considered quitting because of concussions but this one made him seriously consider the option of walking away.

Oklahoma players Tay Evans and Daniel Brooks had also never considered quitting their careers until they experienced there hardest hits. Both together with Jamal Damley who played for Sooners were 2016–2017 retirees due to serious head injuries.

Brooks who was a senior at the time of his retirement and who played running back announced that he was hanging his books 17 days before Harris made his announcement. Brooks said that he got a bad hit in September but continued but realized there was a problem when he couldn’t remember anything from the game.

Harris says that he doesn’t regret retiring and if he had known the effects of playing football, he could have made considerations when he was beginning his career. Still, he says he has learned a lot from the spot and has made great accomplishments.

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