My home team, the Chicago Bears beat Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. I’m so giddy! I really dislike Tom Brady. I just think he is little too full of himself. Seems like he forgot what down it was on the last drive. I wonder if it’s too many blows to the head finally taking its toll. And I am not trying to be mean. I presume he’s had numerous concussions during his long career. And he played football much longer than that, pee wee, junior high, high school, college then 20 plus years as a pro. How could it not affect you? I truly think that he should retire. I am sure his wife wishes he would too and make no bones about it.
Another sports figure, this time in hockey is Corey Crawford who played for the Chicago Blackhawks for a lot of years, 14 I think. He’s not coming back to play with the Hawks but I think he will probably go to another team. He’s going on 36, he’s young but not so young when you’ve had a lot of concussions. He’s had many over his career. He even talks about how his brother and his friends used to shoot pucks at his head because he was the goalie even as a child. Again these players play from a young age to maturity, many, many years of head injuries, not of themselves that serious but the sum total adds up. Their brains deteriorate much quicker than the average person who has not had repeated head injuries. It’s kind of sad really. They do wear helmets but it’s not enough really. They are not 100% safe. So in their 40s already, signs of dementia are already showing up. It’s subtle at first but can get worse over time especially if they keep playing. It can cause mood swings, suicidal thoughts or violence toward others. Not in every case of course but in some cases. Once the brain is damaged, it cannot repair itself. Other parts of the brain try and take over for the damaged areas but it takes a lot of work and therapy to do so, such as in stroke victims.
Which brings me to another fact. These elite athletes have been doing this since they were young children. They know nothing else. They have been playing since age 5 or 6. That’s all they really know. When it comes time to hang it up, I think it is really hard for them to accept that Father Time says that your time is up. They don’t know how to do anything else really. It’s hard to pivot at that point. What do you do for the rest of your life?
I’m going to share a story here that I really haven’t told too many people. When my kids were small, I didn’t work outside of the home. One of my daughters’ friends came to the door and I said what’s wrong? She looked so scared. She said can I come in? And I said sure you can come in. She told me she didn’t want to go home. I said do you want me to call your mom? She said no, she’s at work. So she stayed at my house and played with my daughter. A bit later, her mom came to get her ( I think she called me) and she looked white as a ghost. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t pry because she said they had to leave. Turns out later that she came home from work and found her husband dead in the garage. He had pulled the car in, closed the garage door and left the car running. The little girl would have found him dead if she had gone right home. I think she somehow knew something bad had happened. And maybe the angels kept her away from the situation. So sad. He was a professional football player at one time, he played for the NY Jets. He wasn’t a big star, he was one of the linemen, they don’t make as much as the big stars but they do OK. He got hurt and had to quit playing. And that’s pretty much it, once your contract is up, you don’t get paid anymore. So he had to get an actual job. I think he was a car salesman. And his son was in HS already playing football. They never really said but I suspect he committed suicide. Maybe it was just too much for him or he had some bad thoughts due to brain damage. Who really knows? I just hope his son doesn’t suffer the same fate. I became interested in concussions and brain damage in athletes after that. I have yet to watch that movie Concussion but I want to.
So that’s all from me