Terry Bradshaw is one of the most celebrated football players in NFL history. He played 14 seasons as a quarterback with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is a four-time Super Bowl champion–including leading the Steelers to their first Super Bowl win during Super Bowl IX. In 1996, he was voted into the Football Hall of Fame.
By all measures, Bradshaw has had a dream career.
But now, Bradshaw is setting the record straight, as that dream is slowly turning into a nightmare.
On a blog on MSN’s Fox Sports website, Terry Bradshaw himself wrote about his struggles with the aftermath of too many concussions. He is, as he says, “rehabbing his brain” on the advice of his doctors, trying to improve his hand-eye coordination (with a ping-pong table) and doing brain puzzles to keep his mind active. And he has decided to go public to potentially save the brains of the current generation of players.
I was a quarterback. I know how much my late center Mike Webster suffered. I can only imagine what a lot of defensive players from my era are going through. I’ve talked with Howie Long about this. He understands what I’m going through. I just thought it would good for them to hear what I had to say. I also think other players should speak up and say what they’ve been experiencing. It’s good for the soul and your brain.
Bradshaw talks openly about his memory difficulties…and about how he has reacted emotionally to his losses.
The memory loss made me jittery at times. It was driving me crazy that I couldn’t remember something that I studied the night before. All it did was trigger my anxiety and all of sudden everything would snowball on me. I know I have depression and it’s a horrible disease. This memory loss just made my depression worse.
Bradshaw has devoted his life to football. Even after his pro career was over, he was able to continue on as a sports commentator. More than anyone, football is in Bradshaw’s blood. Which makes it all the more remarkable that he is speaking out.
I know the NFL has done a lot to help us and also to improve the conditions for today’s players in regards to helmets and head injuries. But it’s nowhere where it needs to be…. I really think it is important for players to talk about what they are going through after their playing days are over.
He supports brain research, and he supports shedding light on the mystery of brain injury through science and communication, through players revealing how much they hurt and how they have been affected. With luck, Bradshaw be able to see changes in his lifetime.