Two recently retired running backs talked this week about issues they are dealing with in their lives after football.
First, former New York Jets tailback Thomas Jones told CNN that he wants to donate his brain for concussion research. That desire grew out of research for producing a film on concussions.
Still nimble, Jones doesn’t experience chronic headaches or have memory trouble. He even considers himself less irritable nowadays than when he was playing.
Although his daily life isn’t riddled with pain resulting from repeated pummeling, he is concerned about the long-term effects of the sport on his brain.
That concern grew after talking to doctors and players haunted by gnarly hits for a six-part documentary series, “The NFL: The Gift Or The Curse,” which he is producing.
Jones has decided to donate his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute. He wants the documentary series to shed new light on the life beyond the field for players.
“Even though we can do superhuman things, it seems, on the football field, it doesn’t make us superhuman off the field,” he said.
Meanwhile, WGBA-TV in Green Bay talked to former Packers tailback Ahman Green, who said he has had at least a half dozen concussions.
Green understands the toll his career has taken, but he’s determined to push back. “Staying active. If you don’t use it, you lose it. And that’s everything, physically, brain control. And the less you do physically, mentally, to test yourself. Playing video games, playing with your kids, when you stop doing those things, that’s when your body starts breaking down.”
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor