By the time Jayson Swain's career as UT wide receiver ended in 2007, he says he suffered at least three concussions in addition to several other serious injuries.
But Swain says but never alerted medical staff about the head trauma.
"I wanted to keep playing," said Swain. Looking back, it's hard for him to say if he would have done anything differently now that the long term impacts of concussions have become well publicized.
"I don't think I would change anything," said Swain. But he says he also didn't have the knowledge to make an informed decision on the field.
"We know, you get hit, get a little dizzy. When the birdies go away, you go back in the football game," said Swain. "As a football player, I didn't know the longer term effects of concussion."
The Tennessee Sports Radio host says he wonders if those old injuries still pack a punch. "I kind of lose my train of thought a little bit," said Swain. "I don't know, I just don't know."
Two of the players he shared the field with at UT are now suing the NCAA, accusing them of knowing the risks associated with head injuries and concussions but not doing enough to protect or educate players. They're asking for the establishment of a Court-supervised fund to provide medical monitoring for players who've suffered repeated traumatic head impacts while playing under the NCAA.
Swain says he's not interested in lawsuits, but the goal of protecting and helping former players is something he can appreciate.
"I think college football could maybe educate a little bit more," said Swain.
But for ESPN.com writer Chris Low, the risks he's seen football players take in the decade and a half he's covered the SEC leads him to believe the men on the field are aware of football's dangers.
"Make no mistake- when you step on the football field, you're taking a risk. Every player knows that," said Low.
He says head injuries are finally getting big publicity because science has given players a better understanding of what's happening to their bodies.
"Head injuries are real and people are suffering terrible consequences," said Low.
But he believes technology and coaching should evolve to protect the players more than changing the rules of the game.
"Football is football. There's always going to be violent collisions. That's the essence of the sport," said Low.
For the first time this season in the NCAA those who tackle defenseless players above the shoulders are automatically ejected from the game. As a father of three young sons, Low supports rules that will help stop the most violent injuries and wants to see parents and coaches become stronger advocates for the safety of players on the field.
Swain says changes like the ones the NCAA made this season are a logical way to protect player's from concussion, but he agrees with Low that too much change dilutes the appeal of the game.
"I think that contributes to the 'wussification' of America," said Swain. "I agree with some things to make the game safer, but you can't make it flag football."