Adrian Coxson, who was hoping to become the first player from Stony Brook University to make an NFL opening day roster, has retired after suffering a Grade 3 concussion during an Aug. 1 practice with the Packers.
Coxson, 23, a wide receiver, said he had been told that another concussion could be life-threatening.
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"I've seen a few neurologists and a few doctors and they all recommend that I not play again," Coxson said in a telephone interview from Baltimore.
The hallmark of a Grade 3 concussion is loss of consciousness. Coxson said he awoke in a hospital after being taken by ambulance from training camp. He said his symptoms continue. "Right now, I have a headache, dizziness, foggy. I just don't feel myself.
"They [doctors] said the next one could be even worse -- life threatening -- I took that into consideration, and I'm more concerned about my health than playing football. I have a 1½-year-old son, so I don't plan on leaving this Earth anytime soon without seeing him grow up. I believe I would have made the team. I gave them my all just to get the opportunity. I would have been the first guy [from Stony Brook] to make it."
The Packers released Coxson on Aug. 17 and claimed he failed to reveal a prior concussion history as required in NFL paperwork.
Coxson said he had "a few concussions at Stony Brook but they weren't serious." Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore said Coxson had only one concussion but could not recall what season. He said the school could not release details under privacy laws.
Coxson, who briefly attended the University of Florida before transferring to Maryland for a year, scored 11 touchdowns in his three-year career at Stony Brook. He was signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent.
He doesn't know who hit him at Packers practice. "We were just in a drill, it wasn't an intentional hit," he said. "Right spot at the right time. Right now I just want to get healthy, recover. Hopefully, I won't have any long-term problems."
Coxson, who said he has a degree in business, art and African-American studies, hopes to eventually become a spokesman to help other players learn about concussions.
"I just don't think that players are aware exactly of the severity of concussions," he said. "I would like to explain what they are and the effects they can have."