Like many football fans - I had not heard of Chris Borland until he announced his retirement after just one-year in the NFL. [As an aside can you actually retire from a job you've only had one year? Changing professions, quitting, moving on, etc. all seem more appropriate than "retiring". "Chris what are you going to do now that you're retired?" "Get a job of course." How does that equal retirement?]
Here's an interesting post from this morning where the take-away is that agent Leigh Steinberg basically predicted behavior like this.
The article got me thinking of the golden days of boxing where it was the immigrants on the bottom socio-economic rung of society that were willing to put their bodies at risk in order to gain "a way out". The Irish, the Jews, the Italians all had great champions back in the day when they were the newcomers. Then came the great black fighters along with the Latino and other minorities. Then boxing started dying out because nobody participated in the sport for recreation and there weren't many, if any, boxers society at large could identify with.
Is the NFL now staring at a similar cycle? Could be. It wouldn't be surprising to see major college programs start scouting overseas for athletes that could be taught the game because the pool of suburban kids willing to play starts drying up. It also wouldn't be strange to see a resurgence of baseball as parents begin the appreciate the minimal contact aspect of the sport.