Football has a hard-earned reputation of players being expected to toughen up and “play through” an injury. But one NFL player went beyond the call by playing through a career-ending stroke he suffered as a result of an on-field collision with another player.
For Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen, the Week 15 game against Buffalo played as a normal outing on an NFL gridiron until he collided face-to-face with Bills center Eric Wood. After the two players slammed into each other, Allen experienced a flash of light in his eyes, started to develop a headache, and began to feel odd.
“It was strange because it was so routine,” Allen told the media. “We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash–like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn’t lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive.”
But Allen played on trying to shake off his developing condition. He played through the pain and didn’t even alert the team until the day after the game. As the hours rolled on he developed double vision, his headache intensified, and he started experiencing light sensitivity. After a medical examination, Allen discovered he’d had a stroke.
“The results were conclusive,” MMQB reported. “A small portion of Allen’s brain was inactive. Doctors told Allen it could have been much worse, especially since he went back on the field and risked other jarring collisions. As it was, he had trouble holding onto dishes, breaking several–a symptom consistent with a cerebellum injury.”
At the age of 27, his NFL career is over.
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