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Former 49ers LB Plummer estimates he sustained 2,500 concussions

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AP

Former 49ers LB Plummer estimates he sustained 2,500 concussions

The turning point for Gary Plummer came after his former teammate and friend, Junior Seau, committed suicide in 2012.

Seau’s family was later informed the Hall of Famer’s brain showed abnormalities associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Seau’s death sent shockwaves through the NFL, and it had a chilling effect on Plummer.

“I knew I was having some issues, but like a typical NFL guy, you think you’re still invincible,” Plummer said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“After Junior, my wife said, ‘Dude, you got to do something; I don’t want you to be the next Junior Seau.’ ”

Plummer, now 58, sought help and was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia after a career that spanned 15 professional seasons, including three years with the Oakland Invaders of the USFL.

Plummer played his final four seasons with the 49ers. He was two weeks shy of his 38th birthday when he played his final game -- a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game in January 1998.

In addition to experiencing memory problems in his post-NFL life, Plummer said he suffered from headaches for approximately 12 years and had not been able to sleep well in 10 to 15 years. Moreover, he has experienced severe anxiety for the first time.

Plummer enacted some changes in his lifestyle, such as practicing yoga, meditation, learning to play a musical instrument and spending countless hours gardening in the backyard of his San Diego home.

“I’m close to 75-percent better now,” Plummer said. “I wish more players understand early onset dementia is something that happens to us from the CTE, from all the concussions. Basically, what it’s doing is aging our brains faster than normal. So all these things I had been going through were accelerated by what I came to know after my career, in terms of the definition of concussions.”

A Grade 1 concussion is considered “mild.” It might consist of a person “seeing stars,” brief confusion and no loss of consciousness. But it is still a concussion with a potentially devastating cumulative effect.

“If you’re not getting at least 10 of those a game, as a middle linebacker in the NFL, that means you didn’t play that day,” Plummer said. “I played 250 games. So (with) at least 10 a game, that’s 2,500 concussions.”

Over time, Plummer said working his brain in different ways and creating new mental challenges and stimuli have dramatically improved his quality of life.

“It was not overnight, by any stretch of the imagination,” Plummer said. “It was a long, slow process. But it wasn’t a long, slow, arduous process. It’s not like it was difficult to go to yoga. It’s not like it was difficult to go outside and listen to classical music while gardening.

“But I felt myself not only getting better at the time I was doing those things, but it then became the cumulative effect of, ‘Hey, there’ve been a few days where I didn’t have a headache.’ Or, ‘There’ve been a few days where I’ve been able to sleep through the night.’ And those were momentous occasions for me. It’s been amazing that I literally feel like a new man.”

Plummer said he believes what has worked for him can work for others, too.

“I encourage anyone that knows any professional football player out there to let them know, ‘Don’t be a victim,’ ” Plummer said. “If I can have 2,500 concussions and come back from it. Guys that played the average of three years, so maybe they had 150 concussions, you can come back from it.”

NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California reveal brand-new studio

NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California reveal brand-new studio

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are about to get a whole new look. 

The home of Authentic Bay Area Sports will unveil its new state-of-the-art studio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with "Sharks Pregame Live."

The sleek 2,270 square-foot studio boasts an interactive demo area and multiple anchor and reporter positions designed for movement and flexibility. 

“Our new studios will provide our anchors, analysts and insiders the ability to provide the region’s most comprehensive, informative and entertaining sports coverage across multiple platforms,” NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy said in a statement. "We’ve created a world-class facility that is designed for innovation and the creation of compelling content for local sports fans.”

Every part of the studio can be used as a broadcast location, thanks to the litany of large displays integrated into its architecture, and a sleek LED display running the length of the studio forms the backdrop for the main anchor area. Located at the network's headquarters at 360 3rd Street in San Francisco, the studio includes 120 LED tiles in all: 75 are in the walls, and 45 are on the demo area's floor.

The studio, which was designed as part of a partnership between NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide, primarily will serve as the main set for Warriors, Giants and 49ers pregame and postgame shows, as well as news updates, press conferences, breaking news and magazine shows.

A secondary studio will debut with "Sharks Pregame Live" on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., and it primarily will host NBC Sports California's pre- and postgame shows, news updates, press conferences and breaking news. 

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

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USATSI

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center. 

Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.

So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career. 

Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:

Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]

Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:

Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]

[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]

Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online. 

Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)