In 2012, Husain Abdullah sacrificed a year of his professional football career to go on a religious pilgrimage.
And now, Abdullah has decided to sacrifice the remainder of his professional football career…this time for his health.
The Kansas City Chief safety announced he was retiring from the National Football League after seven seasons.
Abdullah, 30, was a key to the Chiefs’ defense that helped lead them to the playoffs last season.
A Muslim, Abdullah missed the entire 2012 season. He went on a 30 day pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia with his mother, father, and brother (Hamza, who played with Arizona from 2005-11) during Ramadan, which occurs during July and August missing part of training camp.
Abdullah pointed towards a series of concussions during his career, which led him into retirement.
He joins a growing list of players who have left the game early, with health concerns being part of the reason, including Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.
The movie ‘Concussion’, and new evidence of the NFL’s hesitance to admit there is even a problem, are making more players consider future health risks.
This is Abdullah’s retirement statement via Twitter.
“After 7 years in the NFL, I am retiring. I would like to thank the Minnesota Vikings for giving me an opportunity to make the team after going undrafted in 2008. I experienced a great deal of growth both as a football player and as a person during my 4 years in Minnesota. Thank you.”
“The Kansas City Chiefs will forever have a special place in my heart. After sitting out of football to fulfill my Hajj Pilgrimage in 2012, The Chiefs were the first to call. The three years I spent playing for KC may have been the most enjoyable football experience in my entire life. Thank you.”
“There are numerous deciding factors in my decision, with personal health being foremost. Sitting for five weeks last year after suffering the fifth concussion of my career, I had a lot to contemplate. My goals moving forward are to be of benefit to my family, my community, my country and hopefully the world. Having a sound mind will be vital in accomplishing these goals.”
“Thank you to everyone I’ve crossed paths with during my time as a player. You’ve had an impact on my life for the better. Thanks for the love and support. It’s greatly appreciate it. [sic]”
Abdullah was not only an impressive player on the field, he was an active leader in the community off it. He is also a perfect answer to the bigotry the Muslim community faces from many people today, such as presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
If Trump had his way Abdullah could never leave the country and return again, meanwhile, Cruz would have his neighborhood under surveillance. Sad.