Mark Maddox played in the NFL from 1992-2000 after being selected in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
His first two seasons were filled with memories most football players could scarcely imagine. Buffalo won the AFC both seasons, ultimately losing the final two of what would be four consecutive Super Bowls.
Unfortunately, the now 50-year-old Maddox doesn’t remember most of it. In talking about Buffalo’s historical AFC Wildcard comeback against the then Houston Oilers in January of 1993, Maddox had this shocking admission. “They tell me these stories. I have no clue,” the retired NFLer told Buffalo News.
The reasoning, according to Maddox, is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Nearly two decades after his NFL career came to an end, Maddox suspects that he’s suffering through this terrible disease, one that has cost the lives of countless former NFL players.
“The most frightening thing is wondering if what I remember today is what I’ll still remember tomorrow,” Maddox said.
This is a story that’s been repeated over and over again through the years. Most notably, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett opened up about living life with CTE (more on that here).
While it still remains impossible to completely diagnose CTE in a living person, the hallmarks are there for those who are said to be suffering through the disease. Science itself is also making headway in this regard.
The first step in avoiding what plagued those who committed suicide while having CTE is to understand how to live with it.
For Maddox, it’s also about making the situation better for others who will be dealing with the same thing down the line.
“It’s the way it is not just in football but in life, in all things,” Maddox said. “I have no regrets. But you have to learn from what previous generations went through, to make it better for generations coming in the future.”
Maddox may “tear up” in talking about how “football has taken” memories from him, but at least he’s out here attempting to help others. That’s the major backdrop to this harrowing story.