Golden Nuggets: Zack Follett on Concussions, Jahvid Best, and Walking Away from the Game

In light of Junior Seau's suicide and the renewal of the national discussion on the implication of concussions, Cal fan favorite Zack Follett spoke to a radio station in Detroit about his experience with a serious neck injury. He also spoke about his advice to fellow Golden Bear-turned-Lion Jahvid Best.

Follett’s friend Jahvid Best is trying to make a comeback after his own head injury — and Follett says he’s cautioning him about it.

"The advice I have is to be careful and definitely protect yourself, not just from a brain compression standpoint, but from a business standpoint because he has to look out for what’s best for him," Follett said, adding, "I’ve reached out to him, to try to talk to him … He’s had some serious ones (concussions)."

Zack also shed light on how difficult of a decision it is for most guys to walk away from the sport they love.

"Without a doubt," Follett said. "There’s two identities, there’s Zack Follett and then there’s No. 49, so you have to hold up that reputation of that football player identity. For us to say ‘I’m hurt so I’m going to walk away,’ it is a pride issue. It’s hard for a lot of guys to do that.

"We’re tough guys, we’ve been programmed to have a tough mentality our whole life. We’re gladiators, we’re going to keep on going until we can’t go any more."

And is his own body holding up after the beating it took from football?

"Honest answer: No, my body is messed up. I have three bulging discs in my neck. I wake up every single day in neck pain," Follett said. "It’s rough, but when I was done playing football, I said I’ve worked out my whole life, I’m going to take three months off, not work out to see if my body can heal … in reality, my body started to break down and fold on itself and I had to lift weights to make a strong back to keep my body intact so I don’t just crumble down.

"It’s a lifestyle change I had to do, I’ve accepted it and I have to live with it. I had fun, I wouldn’t take it back or trade my experience in the NFL for anything."

After the jump the "rank every possible category in college football" lists keep on comin' and men's golf's Steve Desimone wins the second Pac-12/10 Coach of the Year Award of his long career.

Our resident historian CalBear81 was featured in yesterday's Daily Cal!

Football

Basketball
Softball
Baseball
Golf
  • Steve Desimone was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Desimone last won the award in 1987, before anyone on the current team was born. Brandon Hagy, Max Homa, and Michael Kim were named to the Pac-12 second team and Joel Stalter was an honorable mention.
Field Hockey
  • After an impressive performance in 2011 the Bears open the season against defending champion Maryland. The 2012 schedule also features matches against four other NCAA tournament teams.
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