NFL stars Jerome Harrison and Ryan Leaf battling brain tumors

Oct 21, 2011 at 8:38 p.m. ET

The NFL has two cases of brain tumors. Jerome Harrison of the Detroit Lions is undergoing surgery and retired player Ryan Leaf had a benign tumor removed in May.

Jerome Harrison

The NFL has become concerned over the impact of concussions on the health of its players in recent years, but now there are two cases of brain tumors affecting a current player and a retired player.

Jerome Harrison of the Detroit Lions was discovered to have a brain tumor this week after a checkup related to a pending trade uncovered a growth, according to the Associated Press. Also, Ryan Leaf, a former quarterback with the San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys and two other teams, had a benign tumor removed in May in a seven-hour operation, according to the Associated Press.

Leaf's treatments will include six weeks of radiation.

"I'm very grateful and blessed that it was benign," said Leaf in a chat on Wednesday with readers of the Seattle Times. "I do have to go to Southern California and go through six weeks of radiation starting in the middle of November, but it's just another bridge I need to cross."

Leaf retired from the NFL in 2002.

Harrison, a running back, was scheduled to undergo surgery today, according to the Detroit Free Press, which also reported that he had been suffering headaches.

"You don't really think about a brain tumor," said linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba. "You think about maybe a hard hit to the head, migraine, maybe a few days to get back and clear your head up, but you see how serious it can be."

The NFL has instituted new regulations for head safety regarding damage from concussions in recent years, including a new sideline concussion test designed by the league's Head, Neck and Spine Committee, according to NBC.

Photo courtesy of Jerome Harrison/Facebook

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