Casey Cochran: A young man with a bright future.
STORRS: Casey Cochran will remain in Connecticut football fans memories for his work from age seven all the way up to his time behind center for the UConn Huskies where he won three of the five games he started.
Perhaps his best gift though, came on Monday afternoon when he met the media and delivered words that he hopes present and future football players will take heed to.
“Tell your coaches when you have an injury,” Cochran said. “It’s not worth your health and your future just to play.”
In this world of football where it has, in some circles, been common practice to simply hide injuries in order to stay on the field.
Sure, injuries are part of football and all sports. You don’t play at the high rate of speed these players do without getting your bell rung more than once.
Concussion safety has been in the forefront of sports for a while now and for the better of all those who play.
Here is Casey Cochran, son of Hall of Fame coach Jack Cochran, stepping away from the game both of them have been living and breathing for close to half a century.
After the BYU game on August 29, the Huskies did not return to the practice field until Tuesday when Cochran didn’t feel right.
“I have had these before and on Tuesday at practice, I knew something was just not right,” Cochran said.
It was then he reached out to the medical staff to let them know of the issue.
A true great example for the youth of Connecticut and beyond to take a look at.
Cochran was asked if it was a hard decision for his parents and his answer was no, there is no parent who wants to see the health and future of their child compromised over a game.
“My mom couldn’t watch anymore,” Cochran said. “She hates to see me get hit.”
This is a bright kid with a bright future who will become a leader in whatever field he decides to go into but was this decision a hard one?
“It was a communal decision, but deep down inside it’s my health, it’s my livelihood,” Cochran said. “It’s got to be a no-brainer decision to just be healthy and happy the rest of my life.”
Not that the call to stop playing a game he has loved since as far back as he can remember (Cochran joked he probably had a football in his crib) was an easy one
"It's tough, it will be tough for a while," he said. "It makes it easier that I played the way did, that I left everything on the field, that I played for my teammates. I played that way so I wouldn't have any regrets."
When he won the job after a tough, competitive spring, his head coach spoke of what he brought to the team.
“He was selected to quarterback the team because of his leadership and intangible component,” Diaco said. “And the ability to continue to do that and continue to add that to the team is a positive and he did that.”
On Saturday against Boise State, Cochran was on the sidelines, encouraging his teammates as they battled hard against a high powered offense that had rung up nearly 700 yards in their previous outing.
When the Huskies recovered a fumbled punt in the third quarter, it was Cochran that almost jumped out of his skin.
For now, he will continue to support the team in whatever fashion his coaches see fit while he works towards deciding what he wants to do with the rest of his life.
Cochran spoke with a maturity the belied his 20 years on the globe, thanking all his coaches, fans, friends and most importantly, his family for the outpouring of support he has received since making his decision.
Playing Division I football for the State school he always wanted to attend was a dream come true for this Monroe native who has left the game he loves without any regrets.
In the end, this young man understood the big picture of his health, his life and that football is simply a game.
Kudos to the entire Cochran family who raised a bright young man who it will be hard to bet against in whatever he decides to do with his life.