Curtis also talked about the mentality regarding head injuries when he played. Specifically, how he fought through a great many head injuries, with his teammates aid.
“This was just the mentality, it’s no fault of the NFL or anything, it’s just a part of the game,” Martin told reporters today at a luncheon in New York, in advance of his induction. “When I would get hit, they knew that I popped up just like that, every time I get hit. … Any time that I didn’t pop up, my fullback knew to come pick me up because I was probably either dazed or knocked out.”
He wouldn’t tell the reporters how many concussions he had, due to the sensitivity of the issue these days, but he said he had “…more than enough”. He said became an expert at hiding them. He said balancing the idea of creating a safer game, along with keeping a player’s pride up, is the toughest thing about this situation.
Martin is not worried about long term health issues, although he admits that his short memory is not as good as it used to be. He understands that as players become faster and stronger, maintaining player health is of the utmost concern. However, he knows that there is an element of risk that can’t be avoided.
“The hits are going to be harder, and I just don’t know what the NFL can do to prevent that because it still is the game of football,” Martin said. “As an athlete, there is a certain part of it that you just have to accept, that certain things are probably going to happen. … For me to play 11 years, and I carried the ball just about more than any running back in that 11-year span in history, the likelihood of me having some type of slight damage, that’s just the risk I had to take.”