The overwhelming list of former NFL players who either presented post-mortem with CTE or have reported/been diagnosed with CTE-like symptoms grows every year. It's a terrifying reality the league takes very seriously and continues to work to prevent. From helmet modifications to rule changes, the league continues to evolve, but it hasn't prevent them from facing major lawsuits stemming from brain-related injuries.
Some players, including former New York Giants running back Derrick Ward, have been very outspoken against the league for their handling of retired players — both medically and financially. But earlier this week, retired Giants offensive lineman David Diehl revealed a shocking fact about his 11-year career: he never once suffered a concussion.
"I’m truly grateful that I was able to walk away that way, because there’s guys who can’t," Diehl said while speaking to Belleville’s varsity athletes earlier this week as part of a arrangement with Barnabas Health earlier this week. "There are guys who have the headaches and the focus problems and things like that. It’s scary, you know? I played 11 seasons, retired and am 33 years old.
"Once you get to this age, you have to have a game plan. You have to be prepared to move on and do something else in your life. And how could you do that if you have problems with focusing, or headaches, or listening to someone speaking for a long period of time?"
Diehl says that it was his surprising health — despite playing in 160 regular season games — that has allowed him to expand on his post-football career.
"I’ve done the boot camp, I’ve done internships, and I’ve done everything," he said. "I have a full résumé, and since retirement I’ve done a few things for all the major networks. I’ve done stuff in-studio, calling games, and I’m excited about the future."
It's an extreme rarity to play an entire NFL career sans a concussion and Diehl knows he's been blessed.
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