Curtis Martin talks concussions and injuries in the NFL

Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin was always one to play through pain and spoke out about the injuries he suffered during his time in the NFL this week.

According to Martin he “played with some unplayable injuries” and that in retrospect, he’s not clear on “how I did that or even why I did that.”

“I don’t know how many [concussions] I’ve had, but I just think it’s natural physics,” Martin told CBS Sports Radio’s morning show. “Any time you take a guy who weighs 200 pounds and a guy who weighs 200 or 300 pounds, and you run full speed and bang heads, that’s going to happen. I think it’s part of the game. I don’t know how you avoid concussions. I don’t know if there is an answer to that … football’s a violent sport.”

Regardless, Martin told CBS Sports that he does think the league is doing the best they can to make the game safer.

“I think what they’ve done is they’ve made the game as safe as possible,” Martin said. “I’m wishing that some of the changes that are in the game now were implemented when we were playing. I think I’d probably still be playing. But again, that’s just something that I don’t know if there will ever be an answer to. I mean, how do you prevent that? I think they’re trying to do everything with the latest technology for helmets, equipment and things like that. They’ve cut back on practice. There’s limited hitting. There’s not too much that you can do unless you change the game of football – which, I don’t think anyone wants to (do).”

Martin shared that he had some tests done and that the doctors were pleased with his brain activity results. Still, Martin had some haunting comments on concussions and the danger they pose.

“The funny thing about concussions is that they actually feel good – for the moment,” Martin said. “You just feel like you’re dazed. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just the long-term effects (of them). I think that’s the inherent consequence of playing football.”

Listen to the CBS Sports Radio full interview (CBS Sports).

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Interesting words from Martin. I’ve never heard concussions described that way it it is kind of chilling.

We wish Martin the best in his future endeavors. Martin is one of our favorite football players of all time and it was hard to watch his career end abruptly as it did. Despite the way it ended, it sounds as if Martin is thriving in life after football. 




32 comments
Pat d
Pat d

It's been a good ride for the Rangers. At least until now. Go Kings.

Joan Israel
Joan Israel

That's very perceptive of Curtis Martin, saying concussions 'feel good' for a moment. That description sounds very odd, but that's been my experience too. [I had a few concussions playing football, and was beaned in baseball, too.] You kind of just drift into a different and quieter place, and you feel like you're floating along. The world out there looks different, too. It's the brain shutting down a bit, I think. I never lost consciousness, though.


Jim Israel

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

I quit drinking, but I still knock back a concussion or two on the weekends.

Rudibager
Rudibager

I think what Curtis is describing is the rush of adrenaline combined with the daze that makes it a unique feeling.  Also, I'm sure there's countless different ways and angles that you can become concussed (in terms of how your brain moves and bounces around).  Different situations/angles/amount of force are probably more painful than others.  


Edit: This is my first time posting since Livefyre...  Silly Twitter is using my full name, but this is Rudibager.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

I remember someone, not sure if it was Pat Summerall or someone else who was commenting on a Jets game that Curtis Martin was a late bloomer, he didn't take football seriously only up to his mid 20's, I think he was a bagger at a grocery store or something before getting an offer to play football and he turned everything around, that's sick, starting his pro career that late and still managed to be the 4th all time rushing leader, can you imagine if he started earlier in life?

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

4th all time rusher, that's amazing and he did it with the Jets. I wish he could have played a bit longer, perhaps he would have come close to 2nd, not sure if how to game is played now if anyone will break Barry Sander's( I mean emmit smith's) record..lol

jetlife
jetlife

As someone who has had a concussion from playing football, I cannot say that it "feels good."  But maybe that's what separates the men from the boys.

jaygo
jaygo

@bob


Glad to see you picked up and ran with the ball I dropped!


Still lovin' the horse for Saturday.

jetlife
jetlife

@Pablo Bruno Curtis was a pro bowler and OROY his first season, I'm not sure what you are talking about. In his HOF speech he said he had to be recruited pretty hard to join his HS team though.

Lloyd Jay Reife
Lloyd Jay Reife

@Pablo Bruno

He was one of "Parcells Guys".   Played with the Patriots first.  Didn't matter since he was a great player and gave his all no matter what.

As far as breaking any running records, today's NFL is a passing game (as we know), and  most teams have running back by committee.

dsmizzle
dsmizzle

I hear you but I remember a couple of times when, in retrospect, I had taken a pretty severe shot to the head (this happened more frequently in college where, despite being lowly D-3, the game is much faster and the players much bigger than high schoolers), and I felt more like I was ... high or something (dizzy, disoriented, struggled to stay on the practice field despite having severe trouble remembering the play called in the huddle let alone my blocking assignment that corresponded to the play, etc.), as opposed to feeling actual "pain," and just holding on for dear life while waiting for the cobwebs to clear, etc. ....

So anyway, I understand what Curtis saying. I guess this is a pretty obvious statement, but clearly, all head injuries are different. Mayne your pain was from the surface impact rather than the scrambling of the brain in its shell (as in, you were suffering from both but the pain was obviously most notable)?

Brendan
Brendan

@jetlife I felt like Popeye on his spinach when I got concussed. 

"What? Less sensation and dulled pain? WHERE'S MY HELMET!?" 

bob
bob

@jaygo @bob 

Awe this race is gonna be awesome.. cant wait!

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@jetlife maybe, don't know why they said something about starting his nfl career late or something, just something I remembered years ago I heard in passing.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@Lloyd Jay Reife @Pablo Bruno that's what I mean, Backs aren't going to get the carries necessary to break the record or even come close, unless Backs play longer, which can possibly happen since running backs will be healthier as a result of not carrying the ball as often.

jetlife
jetlife

@Brendan @jetlife I can remember at least two occasions where i either had a helmet-to-helmet or knee-to-helmet.  The worse of the two I felt a lump in my throat and could barely walk off the field. But the second one gave me "beer muscles" if that makes any sense.  At the time, though, I didn't know what a concussion was so I just kept playing. Macho 17 year old a$$hole I was. Good times.

jetlife
jetlife

@Pablo Bruno @jetlife Haha what do you mean, "maybe?"  He led the league in rushing and won OROY his first season and made the Pro Bowl 3 out of his first 4 seasons.

dsmizzle
dsmizzle

Guys, don't forget that if Martin played a few more years, it wouldn't be in the 2014 incarnation of the NFL, but instead he'd add a few more seasons to the end of his career. It wasn't that long ago, but a lot has changed in the years since.

I love Curtis as a player and person (when I was at Hofstra Law, during a rain storm he gave a ride across campus to this disabled kid I know who he spotted walking in the rain), but he obviously wouldn't still be playing NOW, that was a silly thing to say.

Brendan
Brendan

@Marcus Armstrong I was in peak meathead form in this time, though. I routinely went out of my way to find the biggest guy on the field and knock him on his ass. All of it using my head like a battering ram. 


4-5 years younger and I would've been a different player entirely, most likely. 

Brendan
Brendan

@jetlife That happened to me in my first ever fully padded practice in high school (the throat thing). I took a WALLOP from a 6'2" 240 pound fullback, who blindsided me in a half-go drill (he's in jail now, so I win). I got him wobbly, regained my center of gravity quickly, but thought my chinstrap was choking me. Nope, just a bad concussion because some big juice freak had to ear hole a freshman. Yayyy. 

bob
bob

@Bent @bob @jaygo 

Wow thats amazing story hoping that this will all work out right...for them it did... cool article Bent.. I like . readind it. thanks

jaygo
jaygo

@Bent @bob @jaygo


If you want some really good articles with really good comments, go to bloodhorse.com.  Steve Haskin's articles are great.


I have already decided that I am all-in on California Chrome for the Belmont.  I had him on top on 50% of my bets in the Derby, 75% of my bets in the Preakness, and now 100% of my bets in the Belmont.  I want him to win because it's a good story and good for the sport, especially when I’m there with 120,000 of my friends at the largest outdoor cocktail party in NYC.  I will not bet against my rooting interest in any sporting event. I will play triples and supers to get value as CC will have very low win odds.  I plan to play Pick 4’s and Pick 3’s.  They have a great card on Saturday at Belmont.  I will mainly be a spectator for the Belmont.


I do think CC has a huge chance at the Triple Crown.  Horse will go off even odds or less with next horse at 5-1 or more for a reason.  This could be Secretariat-like in that the horse could win by a big margin if all goes right.  What has impressed me most watching this horse all year (not just the last two stakes races) is that he’s barely been used in any race.  Got tested more in the Preakness than in any other race but I feel the jockey rode too confident assuming he was much the best.  That will not happen this time and the connections very well may decide to go all out and leave nothing in the tank.  If so, it could be a big win.  Only concern is that all the threats are deep closers with no real pace setting up in this race.   That said, I still believe right here right now CC is head and shoulders the best three year old.  More likely in my view that he wins by 10 or more than that he gets beat. 

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@jetlife @Pablo Bruno I'm not saying maybe about his accomplishments, I'm saying that perhaps I misunderstood what the commentators were talking about.

sauce961
sauce961

@jetlife @Pablo Bruno he didn't start playing until his senior year of HS...and in college I think he was injured and didn't play as much as expected. Wasn't a first round pick.  I think that's what they meant by late bloomer.

Pablo Bruno
Pablo Bruno

@sauce961 O.k, that makes sense, but still, not to shabby of a career. I wish I can be a late bloomer too and have similar results.

dsmizzle
dsmizzle

Dude, follow your dreams and show up at Florham Park and refuse to leave until they let you try out!