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To Brian Westbrook and his family and Post readers:
I am Brent Boyd, former Viking (1980-1986). I am totally and permanently disabled due to my concussions suffered in the NFL. I am only 52-years-old, and have had to take dementia/Alzheimer's medications for three years already. I am the one who first introduced the issue of concussions to Congress and the mass media, having testified to the House Judiciary and the Senate Commerce committees. (Until then, concussions were only discussed post-mortem, not about the effects on the living.)
Here's why you should listen to my advice to sit out--
Through an advocacy group I founded, www.dignityafterfootball.org - ( which you can now also find as a cause on Facebook), I have learned and heard from thousands of other NFL retirees. I am more familiar than most on the widespread effects of concussions. Ex-players are reticent to admit to others, even to doctors, that they are experiencing head injury problems (if the news got out it might threaten jobs, marriages, etc; but they feel safe telling me their stories.)
Michael, STOP and think before playing so soon, if at all again. If YOU are too macho, then your wife, mother, and family need to step in immediately and keep you home.
Trust me, when you are 52, no one will remember if you came back and played one week in 2009 or no. Fame is fleeting, brain injuries are forever.
Recent studies by the NFL and other groups make it clear that football players face a huge risk of early dementia -- and that once you have had a concussion, each successive concussion multiplies the damage, no matter how small the concussion.
And the greedy billionaire NFL owners will allow you to rot in the streets, prompting me to coin the phrase in 2001, "DELAY, DENY, AND HOPE THEY DIE!"
Does your wife want to trade this one game for having you not being able to recognize her in 25 years? Are YOU willing to make that trade off and throw your future away? Will the Philly faithful be there to help you financially because you have not been able to work for a dozen or more years and have gone through your savings?
No. You will be S.O.L. with no where to turn to for help.
Mr. Westbrook, I implore you to keep out of the game. All you need do is look at guys like me, Mike Webster, Andre Waters and so many more. The risk is not worth ruining your life and losing the essence of yourself, your relationship with your family, and your personality.
As they say in baseball- "grab some pine!"- except you will be in a luxury box. Thank God if you do.
Thank You for letting me say my two cents worth- I hope you heed my advice or you will be another sad story in a decade or two.
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Posted by: dcquilter | December 16, 2009 12:14 PM
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