I'm beginning to wonder if playing the game of football is worth the long term effects it seems to be having on those that have been a part of the game.
Why are so many former players taking their own lives or apparently struggling emotionally to live a normal life?
In the last few months I 've seen two former teammates from the University of Arizona die. The first to pass away was a great offensive lineman in both college and the NFL. His post career was filled with pain medications and alcohol.
He eventually secluded himself from the outside world and from my understanding never could overcome the physical pain the years of playing the game had inflicted upon him. His body finally failed him in the fall.
Most recently, another college teammate died of a heart attack. He also struggled after never realizing his potential following a short NFL career. He spent the last part of his life as a physical trainer, and some suspect he was pumping his body with supplements before being found dead this past winter.
The hardest to see are the guys like Junior Seau. The ones that are taking their own lives. I played against Junior Seau in college and can tell you he was the most dominant players I ever competed against. Our senior year we literally ran every play away from him. We still lost.
Is the physical pounding to the head actually too much to take over long periods of time? We hear the stories of guys like former Bears great Dave Duerson and can't help but wonder how much damage is really being done.
Why is it that sports like football, hockey and boxing are seeing so many cases of depression, suicide or other psychological issues?
I'm not going to try and play the role of doctor, but when I talk to guys in their forties who are having problems bending over to put their socks on, suffering financial losses, or simply live everyday in pain, it just doesn't seem worth it.