Retired Colt Clint Session: Concussions and Recovery
By Evan Reller
Clint Session was a fourth round draft pick for the Colts in 2007. He played four years with the team before signing with Jacksonville in 2011. Mid-way through the season, Session suffered a series of concussions that effectively ended his career.
Sometimes, NFL players get to decide when they want to retire. Others have that choice made for them. Clint Session’s career ended after suffering multiple concussions in one game.
“That’s the only thing I have to remember about my NFL career, is that game,” Session said as he rubbed his hand across his face. “Because that was my last game playing football.”
While playing for the Jaguars, Session suffered as many as three concussions in Cleveland while facing the Browns. That was November 20, 2011 and he hasn’t played since. Those also weren’t his first concussions.
“I’m, I’m wondering if it could be more,” Session said. “I have about 10 that are recorded, that I can actually talk about. Because sometimes with concussions (…) I was getting them at earlier ages of football and you don’t exactly know what it is like.”
They don’t tell you what a concussion feels like in high school, then?
“Exactly.” Session replied. “So I’m having these feelings when they told me what a concussion was, well, you know what? I’ve had a few of those already. And that plus the few I got in Jacksonville, you know, that’s enough for me.”
Session struggled to make the transition after his football career ended. His therapy, for mind and body, was juicing. No, not that kind of juicing. The sort with fruits and vegetables.
I have about 10 (concussions) that are recorded, that I can actually talk about.
“It’s helped me get my mind and body right,” Session said. “I couldn’t sleep for more than two hours at a time after my concussions and I believe that this helped me get my life back.”
Session recently opened Raw Juice in the Castleton area of Indianapolis. The cold-pressed juicery has given Session just the transition he needed. The cafe serves a variety of fresh, raw juice combinations as well as smoothies and salads.
Raw Juice, located at 5052 E. 82nd St. Suite 500 in Indianapolis.
Photo Credit: Evan Reller
“I decided that I had to come up with something to do,” Session said. “I wanted something that was goal-oriented and that I could be hands on with. I tell anybody to try it and see how good it makes you feel and how it improves your body.”
When looking back at his career in the NFL, Session wishes he could make changes to how he played the game.
“I would definitely play smarter.” Session said after some thought. “A lot of times you get psyched up and they tell you to get the big hit and all that. My dad told me a long time ago to keep your head up and as players, we don’t pay attention to that.”
The NFL has worked to regulate how players can hit and the league is trying to take some of the violence out of the game. A lot of injury prevention has to do with proper technique on the field.
“If you’re a smarter player, you know how to tackle,” Session said. “How to keep your head up, how to protect your body, and how to take care of it. If I had a chance to play in the NFL and do it all over again, my number one thing would be taking care of my body.”
But it wasn’t just Session’s body that could have used more care when he played. He also wished he’d been more particular with his equipment. Session was forced to change the type of helmet he wore when he moved to Jacksonville to play with the Jags.
“I wore an old school Riddell helmet for my entire career,” Session said. “Then, in Jacksonville, the GM (Gene Smith), he kinda had a policy where he wanted all the guys to be in Jacksonville helmets, the helmets that they’re sponsored by and he talked me into wearing a helmet like that. And that’s when my concussions started back up.
“I don’t remember getting any concussions when I was in Indy. That helmet (in Jacksonville) was a newer model Riddell and it just worked out bad for me. I’d never put on that helmet if I played again.”
If I had a chance to play in the NFL and do it all over again, my number one thing would be taking care of my body.
Even with the dangers of the NFL, Session still appreciates football. While he doesn’t have a son, Session wouldn’t have an issue letting him play the sport.
“I’d give him his choice,” Session said. “I’d definitely demand safety, definitely demand he takes care of his body, icing his body and injuries. I’d down the violence in the game, but I’d tell my son to go ahead and play. If he wants to play, play. If you don’t? Dad’s not gonna be mad at you, dad has had his fun with the game. Whatever you want to do in life, do it.”
Despite his career being cut short and the injuries he’s suffered, that may affect him for the rest of his life, Session doesn’t hold it against the NFL. He would do it all again, if given the opportunity.
“Even though I know how dangerous the game is and what it’s done to me, I can give a crap-load of pros that this has brought me,” Session said. “I’ve travelled all over the world, met all types of people, made money and become an entrepreneur.
“I would never down the game.”
Check back next week when we talk to Session about his time with the Colts.
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