It was just a regular hit, in a regular play, in a regular game that put an end to Russell Allen's five year NFL career.
Speaking to the Monday Morning QuarterBack, Allen revealed that a collision with Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood on December 15th 2013 triggered an on-field stroke that led to a small piece of his brain effectively dying.
And with it went the 27-year old's chance of playing another snap of professional football, his life's work and dedication cut short in it's prime.
The former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker carried on after the hit and admitted to suffering from double vision while stood on the sidelines, but kept going out and finished the week 15 matchup.
“It was strange because it was so routine,” Allen said to MMQB. “We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash—like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn’t lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive.”
From the article:
"Afterward, he showered with a headache, got dressed with the same headache, drove home with his wife, struggled to watch Sunday Night Football because of light sensitivity, and went to bed with the same headache. If he still had it when he woke up, he told himself, he’d inform the team.
The headache persisted on Monday morning, so he told the trainers that he’d been dinged on Sunday and that for a few minutes he’d seen double on the sideline.
Big red flag."
Allen was ordered to have an MRI and the news wasn't good. He was told that he suffered a stroke in the 27-20 loss. Later tests revealed that a small portion of Allen's brain was inactive, a piece no bigger than a coin located on the cerebellum that controls movement was dead, there was no return.
Allen was an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State University when he was picked up by the Jags in 2009. The 6ft 3in, 238lb OLB only missed two games in his whole NFL career, both after suffering his stroke.