Fred McCrary isn't the only aging football player suffering through the aftereffects of repeated concussions. But he's a former Falcon, and for some reason, that makes it real. His struggles are detailed in this must-read piece by Jim Trotter. I'll be honest, it isn't easy to read.
Still, the most prominent reminder of his playing days is a large, empty room that's fronted by glass-paned double doors. This is where McCrary sometimes disappears for two or three days at a time to fight off migraines he attributes to the "hundreds" of concussions he sustained while playing football ... [t]he episodes occurred so regularly early in his retirement that his kids stopped knocking on the doors to ask what's wrong. They knew daddy was having an attack, which meant they shouldn't disturb him unless absolutely necessary.
We'd like to think the NFL is past this, but in reality, it's still happening. Recent retiree Kevin Kolb walks around thinking someone just fired a shotgun next to his head. It happened Thursday night when San Diego Charger Jahleel Addae stumbled around on camera. It's still a very violent game, and no amount of rule changes will change that.
Please don't get me wrong, there's a certain assumption of risk here. You're getting paid handsomely to play a game for a living. That doesn't mean you're not human though. Teams should strive to avoid what happened to Addae. That's just inexcusable.