We re-learned two things today: first, that the NFL really doesn't care about its players once they stop playing. Health benefits, pensions, long-term conditions, no matter - once the guy hangs up his helmet the No Fun League wants him to disappear into the ether/not get in trouble/not make the league look bad. I'll stop now because this could be a whole series of posts.
Secondly, concussions are bad; even one can cook your brain significantly. When Tom McHale died at age 45, the Cornell grad was posthumously identified to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy - and yes that's the same Encephalopathy that makes up the E in BSE/"Mad Cow Disease".
I used to think that it was pretty silly that kids playing soccer are often required to wear head-padding very similar to what rugby players wear. Presumably soccer players are less likely to have their ears torn off, but given the negative effects of repeated heading of the ball (proven all over the place, I'm too lazy to look up a link right now), it's probably not a bad idea.
More generally, humans were really only 'supposed' to live until ~age 30, and now that we are doubling and tripling that we run into all sorts of maintenance errors - Alzheimer's, cancer, etc. That's probably stating the issue a little too simplistically, but still, today's news is an important reminder: you wouldn't go around sniffing asbestos, and you shouldn't run around taking liberties with your neurons.