no man's land: when concussions force a college football player to retire

Casey Cochran is one of at least 26 players in college football to have retired in recent years because of concussions

December 1, 2015

by Timothy Bella 

STORRS, Conn. — Inside his ninth-floor apartment at the University of Connecticut, Casey Cochran rewatches the tape of his first collegiate football start. He pauses the TV after a play-action hand-off to the running back. 

The snap — in a November 2013 matchup at Southern Methodist University — was one of thousands Cochran had taken since he started playing the game at just 7 years old. This one, though, would end in his 11th of at least 12 career concussions. He watches the tape in slow motion as his head snaps back, bouncing off the artificial turf at the Dallas stadium. It was a clean hit by the defender, and Cochran knows it.

Cal Sport Media via AP Images