Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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September 6, 2013

A heady topic

Concussions and safety at heart of football debates

(Continued)

Payne’s son, Landon, a quarterback for the Community Christian School Warriors, has been leery of concussions this month after hit he took to the head about a year ago that his father called “pretty scary.” Landon was pitching in a baseball game when a line drive came back at him, hitting him about an inch above his temple. Landon recovered under the watchful eye of his trainer father, but Payne says Landon is still wary of headaches in football practice. 

As Payne’s story illustrates, Lawrence said that concussions can happen in any sport. However, he added, that should not be a reason to keep kids from playing.

“We’re all worried about the health of the kids, but you can get hurt walking across the street,” he said. “Athletics is a great teacher of life skills, it’s a great teacher of teamwork. [Football] rules committees have got the safety of the kids in mind, coaches have the safety of the kids in mind and [parents] need to let their kids play if they want to.”

As for Jensen, the damage has already been done. 

“I’ve been blessed to have great people around me who are supportive,” he told the Olympian, a newspaper in Olympia, Wash. “And there have been some breakthroughs that look promising, but nothing you can go to right now and get cured.”

After Jensen announced his his retirement last spring, the Seahawks heard of his condition and honored him by allowing him to make the final two selections for Seattle in the 2013 NFL Draft. 

The Olympian reported nothing but positive feelings from Jensen’s former coworkers in Seattle and teammates from Oakland at events surrounding the ceremony. 

It’s a sad story, but warm at the same time,” Former Raiders Head Coach Tom Flores told The Olympian. “It’s one where you just try to not let the sad part of it block the memories of all the good things about him.”

Jensen’s future may be unclear, but with so many changes and strides being made across all levels of football, the hope is that the sport will be much safer to help secure the futures of generations to come.

Follow Clint on Twitter @Clint_Foster55

The Olympian contributed to this article

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