Former Players: Get diagnosed if you have signs of cognitive impairment
Here is an excellent article that all retired players should read: Mike Curtis strives for Canton facing new foe
It reminds us that there is help available through the 88 Plan, but sometimes it takes family members and friends to get that help for former players.
I believe that the older generation of retired players were, and still are, more reluctant to admit that they have any problems and might need help. It came from the mindset that “you play with pain and you don’t complain.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, college players sustain more total hits to the head in practices than in games, with teams averaging 2,500 total hits to the head that measured as significant blows (50 to 79 g’s of force) and about 300 hits to the head that were considered in the concussion-causing range (80 to 119 g’s). Some collisions measured above 120 g’s, which experts have likened to crashing a car into a concrete wall at 40 miles an hour.
Add those collisions to all the head hits a player has during their NFL career and you can see why it is important to get diagnosed – especially if you feel you may have some cognitive impairment.
If you know a former player that is showing signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia then please encourage them to get diagnosed.
To qualify for the 88 Plan, you don’t have to show that your impairment came from playing professional football. You don’t have to show that you sustained multiple concussions during your career and you don’t have to suffer in silence.
Mitchell Welch, who is mentioned in the article, has done a tremendous job traveling around the country lecturing about TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and has provided the NFL Alumni with information about the process of applying for the 88 Plan. To get more information, you can contact the NFL Player Care Plan at 800-NFL-GOAL (800-635-4625).