Former NFL Player, Clinton Portis, Reveals Struggle With Concussions

Former Washington Redskins player Clinton Portis recently gave a revealing interview to a reporter with CBS Sports where Portis discussed the extent of the head injuries he suffered in his years on the field. Portis says over the span of his career he estimates he suffered at least 10 severe concussions, though he admits he lost count at a certain point and is only guessing.

Severe Concussion Pushes Portis to Retire

Portis’ career ended after a brutal collision in 2009 against an Atlanta Falcons player. The blow to the head was so severe that Portis lost consciousness. Though he didn’t know it at the time, that blow to the head spelled the end of his career, with the NFL player only suiting up for five more games before announcing his retirement.

Prior to that serious injury, Portis said standard procedure was to just play through concussions. Portis told CBS Sports,

“The truth is I had a lot of concussions. It was just the way things were at the time.”

Portis says he would get hit and then be dizzy and have to take one play off before getting right back in the game. He says on more than one occasion he would be back on the field and still unable to see straight, something he says happened once or twice per game.

Thankfully, Portis, who is only 31, says he appears to have escaped some of the terrible injuries suffered by other players. Other than a few aches and pains he says he cannot complain of any major health problems related to his repeated head traumas. Portis thankfully fared much better than others who report even more severe injuries.

NFL Players Severe Concussion Injuries

Last year a former NFL player and teammate of Junior Seau, Gary Plummer, spoke out after Seau’s suicide, saying that over the course of their careers the two likely suffered thousands of concussions. Plummer said that he went to a seminar about the dangers of concussions back in the 1990s and learned that a Grade 3 concussion meant that a person was completely knocked out while a Grade 1 concussion involved seeing stars. Plummer says he was amazed given that as a linebacker with the NFL he says he suffered at a minimum five such Grade 1 episodes every game, it was just the way things were done at the time. Over a 15-year career with five concussions per game, Plummer estimates he suffered more than 1,000 such injuries while Seau may have endured even more given his somewhat longer playing career.

Former NFL linebacker Steven Hendrickson was mentioned in an ESPN article, which said the player, had endured 15 Grade 3 concussions, meaning a total blackout, over his seven-season career. Hendrickson is now 46 and has virtually no short-term memory and was recently declared permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration, a terrible price to play for any professional athlete.

Pope McGlamry’s Role in NFL Litigation

Pope McGlamry currently represents former professional football players and their families for injuries and damages sustained as a result of suffering concussions while playing professional football and is actively involved in the current NFL concussion litigation. If you or someone you love has been injured during your professional football career, you may be entitled to compensation. Get started today by contacting our team or submitting your case online.

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Source: “Portis absorbed punishment for a living, but now lives the good life,” by Mike Freeman, published at

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