What looked like a routine NFL play wound up leaving a life-altering mark on former Jacksonville linebacker Russell Allen.
Allen, 27, who was released by the Jaguars last week, is finished with football. He suffered a stroke on the field in a Week 15 game against Buffalo last season, something he recently revealed to Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com. He was released after failing a physical.
Allen developed a dime-sized dead spot on his cerebellum after a face-to-face collision in the first half with Bills center Eric Wood -- what seemed like a hard but typical hit.
"It was strange because it was so routine," Allen told Klemko. "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."
In fact, Allen said he stayed on the field and wound up finishing the game despite experiencing double vision in the second half.
He said a persistent headache led him to seek medical attention and get an MRI in the days that followed. That's when doctors discovered he'd had a stroke.
"If I could go back in time I would do it differently," Allen said. "Being in it and knowing how I felt in that moment, the game feels so serious. You’re thinking, I can’t come out, because what if someone else comes in and takes my job? Or, they need me out there, and I can’t come out because I really want to win. But you can’t do that, and I learned that the hard way."
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