Amid 'Concussion' coverage, Frontline documents Chris Borland's departure from football

Amid 'Concussion' coverage, Frontline documents Chris Borland's departure from football

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Chris Borland

Former Wisconsin football player Chris Borland retired from the NFL in March.

In 2013, PBS' Frontline went head-first into the NFL's checkered history of trying to deny the game's connection to debilitating brain injuries.

Two years later, former Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland is part of a new Frontline feature as football's concussion issue reaches the big screen.

Frontline this week released a feature called "How Afraid Should the NFL be of Chris Borland?" In it, Borland detailed his eye-opening decision to retire from football earlier this year just as his pro career was starting to take off.

He said he gave up playing the game after weighing the potential for brain trauma, and that made him a national symbol for concerns with the risks of football.

On Friday, the movie "Concussion" opened nationwide, telling the story of the doctor (played by Will Smith) who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brains of former NFL players while the league sought to discredit him.

Borland told ESPN in an August feature that he declined a request to promote the movie and has said he doesn't want to make money off football's concussion issue.

In the Frontline interview, Borland said he doesn't watch much football now.

"Last year the NFL commissioned actuaries to estimate how many NFL veterans would have brain damage," Borland said. "And the number they came up with was three out of 10. So if I turn on a game and a third of the guys will have brain damage in life, I just — I can't really support that. I don't really watch football anymore. If it's on, I may peek at it but ..."

He shook his head as the video faded out.

Watch the six-minute Frontline feature here:

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