Listening to Williams can cause headaches

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
10:00
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Warning: Trying to understand retired Ravens running back Ricky Williams' train of thought can lead to headaches; or at the very least, a great deal of confusion.

Just listen to Williams' reasoning on why he believes there is a link between concussions and brain damage.

"I don't buy it," Williams told ESPN's Dan Le Batard on Tuesday. “I'm only speaking from my personal experience, because I've never allowed myself to buy it, and I haven't been affected by it. Yes, I'm aware that football is a rough sport, but instead of saying, 'Oh, I'm doomed to like brain trauma,' I said, 'What can I do about it?' And I just started taking care of my body. I found people, places and things that really helped me. Again, I don't know what's going to happen to me in 10 years, but for me I look at the other things I've learned about and the way I see the world.”

This makes you wonder if Williams is thinking clearly after 2,431 carries in the NFL. If I'm following him correctly, and I'm not totally certain that I am, the key for football players to avoid head trauma later in life is to keep in good physical shape and refuse to believe science.

"So is science like the new deity of our culture? It is, but should it be?," Williams said. "If you look at science 100 years ago, the things that they thought based on their science, we now show they had no idea of what they're talking about. I think as time goes on, the things that I've been saying are just going to be proven to be correct. The way that football is looking at it now, if you follow the trajectory, it creates the end of football. So, do we want football to die? I don't."

Williams is the one who is sounding behind the times. It's amazing that Williams can have this way of thinking, especially after spending a season in the same locker room with center Matt Birk. Three years ago, Birk pledged to donate his brain and spinal cord tissues after death to a Boston University medical school program that is looking to better understand the long-term effects of repeated concussions.

Williams certainly has the right to speak his mind and he's dealt with more blows to the head than I ever will. He said he doesn't know how many concussions he's had but he doesn't feel any effects right now. You have to wonder whether his stance on concussions and head trauma will change 10 years from now.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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