Thanks to breakthroughs in the science community, we now have a better understanding of the risks that come with playing a violent sport such as football. The CTE issue is by now well known and one of the biggest black eyes for the National Football League as a whole.
We’ve read the stories. We’e seen those suffering through Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy commit suicide. It really has become the dark underbelly of the professional football world.
It’s in this that a former NFL player is opening up about his experience on the NFL field and the brain trauma he suffered. Gary Plummer played in the NFL from 1986-1997, earning a Super Bowl championship with the San Francisco 49ers in the process.
A former linebacker, Plummer was one of the most violent hitters in the league during the height of his career. And now, according to the former NFLer, it has taken a major toll on him. In fact, Plummer estimates that he suffered 2,500 concussions during his playing days. That’s not a typo. 2,500.
“If you’re not getting at least 10 of those a game, as a middle linebacker in the NFL, that means you didn’t play that day,” Plummer told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I played 250 games. So (with) at least 10 a game, that’s 2,500 concussions.”
Ten concussions a game? And we wonder why players from that era are dealing with traumatic brain injuries long after their careers have ended.
For Plummer, his story should act as a warning to others who played in an NFL that didn’t concern itself with head injuries. He was just recently diagnosed with early onset dementia, something he wishes others understood as a possibility from playing football on the game’s grandest of stages.
“I wish more players understand early onset dementia is something that happens to us from the CTE, from all the concussions. Basically, what it’s doing is aging our brains faster than normal,” Plummer continued. “So all these things I had been going through were accelerated by what I came to know after my career, in terms of the definition of concussions.”
The good news here is that Plummer says he’s “close to 75 percent better now.” The bad news? According to Plummer, other former NFL players don’t fully understand their situations and how to help themselves. Luckily for Plummer, his wife forced him into seeking help after Hall of Famer Junior Seau committed suicide while dealing with CTE back in 2012.
It’s absolutely astonishing (and might not be 100 percent correct) that Plummer believes he suffered thousands of concussions. Still, it should act as a lesson for other former NFL players to seek help if they start feeling the effects of CTE.