Nearly two weeks ago, Emily Kelly, the wife of former Ohio State and NFL defensive back Rob Kelly published a heart-wrenching opinion piece in the New York Times entitled “I’m the Wife of a Former N.F.L. Player. Football Destroyed His Mind.”
In the article, Kelly detailed some awful stuff about how Rob Kelly has been afflicted due to brain injuries.
“After years of little to no sleep, he alternated between sleeping either three hours a night or 20. I’d wake up to find every blind and curtain in the house closed and Rob sitting on the sofa with a blank expression on his face. He no longer felt comfortable driving, refused to leave the house and cut off contact with everyone.
“Specific details about how he wanted his funeral to be, and his demand that he be cremated, were brought up with excruciating frequency. One particularly dark time, he went five days without eating anything; he drank only water and a few swigs of chocolate milk. He was suffering deeply and barely surviving. My love and affection seemed to offer no comfort or solace. I felt helpless.”
Since publishing the column, Kelly and his family have heard from friends, former teammates and people from church who have offered their support, per the Newark Advocate. However, neither Ohio State nor the NFL has reached out to the Kellys, and that is not sitting well with Emily.
“It’s a little upsetting,” Emily Kelly said about Ohio State specifically. “You’d think they would reach out. You’d think they would have (said) ‘What can we do? How can we help?”
It’s certainly understandable that Kelly’s wife would be upset about this. For his part, Kelly made it clear he’s not trying to point the finger of blame at anyone. He just wants to get the message out to the public that “this isn’t a safe sport to play from when you’re 8 years old.”
He also said the only way to make football safer is to “stop playing.”
On a related note, the State of California currently has a bill that will be debated this spring in which two Assembly members are calling for tackle football to be banned until high school. Additionally, a few other states have similar legislation in the pipeline that will be considered in due course.