Excerpts from the ESPN “E:60” story that aired today with ABC News special correspondent Bob Woodruff talking to 22-year-old Patrick Larimore, the UCLA linebacker out of Hart High in Valencia who “retired” before this season because of problems he has had after suffering six concussions over the last several years:
== After a video clip showed Larimore participating in a summer touch-football league game the summer before his sophomore year in high school, describing a play when he received a concussion: “I remember I was chasing a receiver and my own player just came down and we collided, head to head, and I was knocked out on the field. It was very hazy. It’s hard to describe. But you feel like you’re detached, you’re like a shell. You’re not really in the moment, you’re like an observer.”
== It was also pointed out that he had two more concussions as a junior at Hart, and another in his freshman year at UCLA.
== On April 21, 2012, the first day of spring practice in full pads, Patrick’s father, Bryan, described an incident: “Patrick was covering a receiver, his body was blocked by the receiver, safety came up from the back to hit the receiver, at the last second, the receiver dropped or moved and he (the safety) ran head first into Patrick’s chin . . . Patrick lost emotional control. He was very upset. Disoriented, didn’t know where he was. He couldn’t feel his legs.”
Said Patrick: “I kinda like did a little flip and just was on my knees, couldn’t breathe, my head was just spinning. I couldn’t process information in my head. My eyes were locking onto things. I was in such a state of confusion I couldn’t move my vision around. … I was terrified. … It was definitely the most violent hit I’d ever received on the field. It lingered for two months after. But in my mind I was still dead center on his season pursuing the NFL.”
Tests showed no spinal damage, but doctors said he suffered a concussion – which would have been his fifth.
== Aug 4: He returned to practice, but two days later had another hit. Said Larimore: “I remember it was a 9 on 7 drill, the offense runs running plays against the defense. I remember taking a hit on the guard … I just knew if I kept going it was going to be worse and worse. I knew I had a concussion and honestly I didn’t want to leave the field then. But I knew I needed to walk off.”
UCLA coach Jim Mora described the hit leaving Larimore with his helmet was turned askew and chin strap up around his mouth.
== Larimore described how emotionally wrought he had become: “One moment I’d be talking to my mom and be really sad and down and the next she’d say something and it would just set me off. I’m not like that. I was very alarming. … Finally, it was clear I couldn’t go on smashing my head into things. Nothing good was going to come out of that for me.”
== From UCLA team doctor John DiFiori: “His most recent concussion, the most striking feature was a disturbance in his mood. He was very irritable and emotional.”
== On telling Mora he wanted to retire on Aug. 12, Larimore said: “I was in tears talking to him. I was just, ‘I’m not going to be able to keep playing like this.’ They were very supportive of me. I’m lucky to have them at that time. … I was packing my stuff up at my dorms and people were coming by. It was very emotional. It was very hard on me to feel like I was leaving and abandoning them.”
== On regrets: “It’s hard not to have regrets, seeing the team. … but at the end of the day I’m confident my decision to walk away.”
Note: Woodruff suffered a traumatic brain injury covering the war in Iraq in 2006 and continues to do special reporting now on the understanding of head injuries.