Nov. 15, 2010
Opening Statement: After the concussion I suffered in the Kansas State game, I started talking to the team doctors and the trainers and my coaches. After talking to them we decided that the best decision for my future and me is to stop playing football at The University of Texas. I'll still be helping the running backs out anyway I can. As far as playing - I am done playing.
How emotional was this decision for you?
It was really hard. I love the game of football. It is something I have been doing ever since I can remember. I have always been around the game of football. It's going to be hard. I'm going to miss it a lot. After talking with the doctors and going through the different concussion tests that they have you go through, it is a decision I had to make based on my future and just making sure I will not have problems later on in life.
How did you know something was wrong after Kansas State versus when you've had a concussion before?
The doctors look at each concussion. They take us through several tests and just based off of this recovery, they just advised that since I have had a few in the past, that I should consider and look at my long-term future. As hard as it is for me and as much as I love football, I have to look at the future and I do not want to have problems later in life.
When did you realize during the tests that your concussions were serious?
Did your dad, former Dallas Cowboys' offensive lineman Nate Newton, have any words of advice for you based on his experiences?
[The tests] are a process - it is a process just like any other injury. The doctors told me that your brain has to recover and that you might feel fine physically and things like that. They did a great job of giving me research on concussions and things like that. Plus the coaching staff, Coach [Mack] Brown and Coach [Major] Applewhite, have been big supporters in my decision, and they left it up to me. They have always looked at my best interest and what's better for me in the future. They have been a tremendous support for me.
Our head trainer and our head physician sat me and my parents down and presented us with all of the facts with concussions and what could result later on in life. Both my mom and my dad left the decision up to me. Whatever I was to decide, they would support me either way, and they were behind me either way 100 percent. They just said think about it, pray about it and look at your future. As much as I love football - and this is a tough decision for me - this is not everything. Right now I am trying to work on my degree in corporate communications, hope to graduate next December, and I am hopefully [going to] start my masters or working on my graduate degree.
When did you make the decision?
After last week, the doctors sat me down, and they talked to me about it. I just took all week to pray about it. I just prayed to God and asked him for guidance and asked him for help because this is one of the toughest decisions I have had to make. All through the week, the trainers were presenting me with facts and things so I could make a more knowledgeable decision. This weekend I sat down with my parents, and we just prayed and talked about it. So that is how I came to the decision.
Former Dallas Cowboys's QB Troy Aikman went through this. Any chance he was a guy you thought about this last week?
No, not really. Each concussion is different. Everybody handles it differently and everyone's symptoms are different. So I just looked at the facts that our doctors and trainers gave me and how I was recovering from this one and what this could mean in the future for me. I just took those facts and made my decision.
How many concussions have you had?
With concussions, a lot of people want to get into the numbers, but there isn't a set number of concussions that make you say, "Oh, you really have to stop playing." You just have to look at each one differently, and I have had enough where they have raised a lot of concern with doctors that I had to make this decision.
Was there something about this last one that scared you even more?
I don't know if it was the last one specifically, but each one is scary. When you are talking about your brain that is a serious thing. Just the way I was recovering from this one, it raised more concerns with our doctors. They do a great job putting me through all of the tests and making sure that my safety is first because, naturally, I just want to get out there as fast as possible. But they take the time to make sure that you are fully recovered. This is what they have advised me, and I trust them 100 percent and this is the decision I have made.
Does it make it easier knowing that the degree here and the classes here are something that you really did want to accomplish?
Yea, it makes it a little easier. I guess the main thing I am going to miss is going out with the guys on the field every Saturday. That is really going to be hard, but like I said Coach Applewhite and Coach Brown have been a tremendous support for me through all of this. I am still going to be going to classes, getting my degree, and so I guess my goals and priorities have changed a little bit but one of my main priorities have always been to graduate and get my degree from The University of Texas. I'm just extremely grateful to stay a student-athlete, even though I won't be playing on the field, and [it] gives me a chance to help me out later on in life by getting my degree and hopefully getting a good job.
What do you want to do?
Well, right now like I said, I'm getting my degree in corporate communications and after that I'll start graduate school. I'm not really sure what I'll do in grad school; maybe try to get into the business school. We have a good business school here so that's my goal right now and that's what I'm trying to do and then move on from there.
What about helping to coach the running backs here for the next couple of years?
You know, that's one thing that I'm looking forward to. You know, the rules need to change a little bit, but Coach Applewhite let me know that he could use my help and help him out in any way that I can with the young running backs coming in and the running backs we have now. All the eyes that you have out on the field helping you out helps. So, I'll be right behind all of our running backs and just trying to make our team the best that it can be, whichever way that is.
A lot of your teammates are just finding out about this. What are your coaches saying?
My coaches have been supporting me. They wanted me to also really think about, - just as far as my future goes - and just make the [right] decision. They didn't want to rush me into anything or anything like that. They were behind me one hundred percent, like I said.
You have a couple of teammates that have gone through things that are similar, like Matt Nader and Blaine Irby. Do you talk to them at all? Do you ask their advice?
Yea, I was planning on actually talking to Blaine just because, you know, this isn't an easy thing, like I said. Even saying it now - I've played football forever. I used to be in the living room tackling myself, so this is hard. But yea, Blaine and others, everybody on the team is going to be really supportive. We're like a family in the locker room, so everybody is going to be behind me one hundred percent and just be there for me.
Has it hit you yet? Was there a lot of crying when you made the decision?
Let's just say that last week was a tough one for me. It was a tough week. I don't want to put out there that I was crying a lot, but yea, it was tough for me. I just did a lot of praying. What I wanted to do growing up was I always wanted to play football. That's my life, just playing football. But, obviously that wasn't God's plan, and I just did a lot of praying and I'm sure God has something different planned for me. I just have to go to school, [and] get my degree. That's always been my goal, and to see where God takes me.
On the field, do you have a favorite moment or highlight here with the Longhorns?
I don't know if I have a favorite highlight or moment. I guess what I'm going to miss the most is running out of the tunnel with the guys. Everybody, every single one of my teammates, we have fun together. Even though we haven't had the season we wanted this season, we still had fun together. We're like a family. Those are all my brothers, you know, and that's just the part I'm going to miss is being out on the field with them. But I'm still going to be right there on the sidelines, yelling at them and trying to help them, coach them, and telling them what I see from the sidelines.