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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Russell Allen had stroke, won't return

By Michael DiRocco
ESPN.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen suffered a stroke during the team's loss to the Buffalo Bills in December and is unable to play football again.

In an interview with TheMMQB.com, Allen said he initially thought he had suffered a concussion after colliding with Bills center Eric Wood early in the second half of the Jaguars' 27-20 loss Dec. 15 at EverBank Field. Later in the half, he began experiencing double vision on the sideline, but he went back onto the field and finished the game.

Russell Allen
Former Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen says he will never play football again after suffering a stroke during a game last season.

After suffering a headache Sunday night and Monday morning that week, he told Jaguars trainers about the play and that he had experienced double vision on the sideline, Allen told the website. He underwent an MRI and was sent home but received a call on Tuesday morning and was told to meet the Jaguars' team physician at the emergency room.

Upon arrival, Allen was told he had suffered a stroke, and was admitted to the hospital for three days of tests.

"It was strange because [the hit on Wood] was so routine," Allen told the website. "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."

Allen, 27, told TheMMQB.com that he has a dead spot on his cerebellum about the size of a dime, is still having coordination problems, and will be on blood-thinning medication the rest of his life. According to a neurosurgeon from the University of California-San Diego, the injury occurred due to a tear in the layers of the artery wall that supplies oxygen to the brain.

According to the website, none of the doctors Allen consulted could find an incident in which a professional football player suffered this kind of stroke, which has occurred in a small percentage of high-speed motor-vehicle accidents.

Allen took to Twitter on Tuesday to talk about what's happened.

My family & I want to thank everyone for the love & support. It's been a tough time but we serve a God who is bigger than our struggles.

- Russell Allen (@RussellAllen50) April 22, 2014

I told my story so athletes understand you can't ignore head injuries. If you're not sure you have one, then you do. Report it immediately.

- Russell Allen (@RussellAllen50) April 22, 2014

Wood also tweeted about the play that ended up ending Allen's NFL career.

Pretty sobering reading on ESPN bottom line that a collision I had with a LB for the Jags gave him a stroke and career over

- Eric Wood (@EWood70) April 22, 2014

Just reminds you of how fragile your career in the NFL is and you can't take it for granted

- Eric Wood (@EWood70) April 22, 2014

Allen signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and started 44 games -- including 29 the past two seasons -- before being released last week. He recorded 452 tackles, two sacks and three fumble recoveries in his career.