Brain injuries in the NFL are getting more attention than ever, and the issue has taken direct aim at Vikings tight end John Carlson.
The Litchfield, Minnesota native could miss a second consecutive week after symptoms from a concussion he suffered two weeks ago on a frozen field in Baltimore returned.
He'll need to go through the NFL's concussion protocol before returning to practice or games.
This week's game is the least of Carlson's worries. He tells the Star Tribune that his concussion history could force him to retire from the game he loves.
“That’s something that my wife and I will consider,” he said. “After every season it’s an evaluation period because of the nature of our business. Players move around, players get cut, coaches get fired, things happen. So in that sense, every year is an evaluation period and this year will be no different. And the concussion part of it will be in that conversation.”
Carlson, who is only 29-years-old, and his wife Danielle aren't ignoring the longterm effect concussions could have on him and his family.
“We have two kids and a third one on the way,” he said. “I’m taking steps to mitigate the risks. [But] there are risks to playing football.”
Carlson declined an opportunity to reveal how many concussions he thinks he's had, but the report says Carlson has suffered five recorded concussions – three in the NFL and two during his college career at Notre Dame.
He suffered a frightening concussion when he played for the Seahawks in a playoff game against the Bears in 2011.