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CONCUSSIONS FORCE MERRIL HOGE TO RETIRE

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 18 1994 12:00 a.m. MDT

The urge to play football may return once Merril Hoge's senses are clear and his body and mind have returned to a more normal state.

Nevertheless, Hoge knows he won't ever play the game again.Two concussions in six weeks and opinions from three doctors advising him of the dangers of returning to football have made the decision for him.

"One more hit and it's not like I can sit here and talk to you. I don't function, period," Hoge said. Monday when he announced his retirement from football and the Chicago Bears, two weeks after he'd been kneed in the head while throwing a block against the Buffalo Bills.

Dazed in the hospital after he was injured, he didn't know his wife, his brother or that he had a 14-month-old daughter. His phone number? Didn't have a clue.

"The most frustrating thing about the injury is that there is no control. I have no control over getting better," said Hoge, who hadn't been taking medication until this week because doctors were afraid he couldn't remember the dosage. "I'm at the mercy of time."

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