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Multiple concussions forced Taylor Twellman to effectively retire from professional football prematurely. The former US international striker recounted his story to BBC 5 Live Sportsweek amid the furore surrounding Tottenham Hotspur’s handling of the Hugo Lloris incident.


In Twellman’s case, seven is not a lucky number. Seven is the number of times, he said since age 10, that he has suffered concussive blows to the head. The most recent occurred in August 2008, during his time in Major League Soccer.


“I came in for a cross, the goalkeeper punched me in the head, I scored the goal, which is a good thing, but the reality is I played the remainder of that game, played the next seven weeks, and my life hasn’t been the same since.”


‘I consulted doctors, I did consult trainers. I went through tests immediately on the field, that supposedly are the same tests that Lloris had at Tottenham and those tests don’t work. You cannot address a concussion or a traumatic brain injury that quickly.”


Twellman was drafted by New England Revolution in 2002 - after a stint in Germany with 1860 Munich - where he scored over 100 goals during a six-year period for the Boston-based franchise. He finished top of the MLS scoring chart in 2005, the same year he claimed the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Capped 30 times by the United States, scoring 6 times, he was part of the squad which won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2007.


More recently, in addition working as a media pundit, Twellman, 33, dedicates much of his time to the THINKTaylor foundation,  which has a stated aim to ‘create social change in the world of traumatic brain injuries, by generating increased awareness, recognition and education.’


“Basically, over the last four years I haven’t worked out, haven’t done any kind of fitness work. I keep my heart rate below 130 (beats per minute) pretty much at all times. It’s very difficult to go to the theatre, go to any type of cinema and watch movies. I don’t go to concerts.”


“I’m limited in certain things, but I’m also doing that because it’s not fun feeling sick, it’s not fun having headaches every minute of every day. I’m also trying to be that first athlete who can be an example to other ones that have problems and are trying to fix it.”


Twellman is clearly incensed by the Lloris affair, not to mention Tottenham Manager Andre Villas Boas’ comments in which he claims Spurs did nothing wrong and that those who criticise the London club are “incompetent people”.


“If anyone wants to tell me I’m uninformed, if Andre Villas Boas wants to tell me I’m incompetent, I’m not. No concussion’s the same. I’ve had seven.”


“Science shows us there’s no test that shows a concussion. You can scan for bleeding or swelling, but it does not show a concussion. No human being can be a 100% certain.”


“What people need to realise is that if you sustain another concussion, while you have the first one, there’s something called ‘Second Impact Syndrome’ and that is often fatal.”


“We’re not talking a about a career here and that is the problem I have with this discussion, they played with Lloris’ life.”