The NFL has been dealing with questions about concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) for years as multiple figures have tried to explain the long-term effects of head injuries. An example of this is when former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau died by suicide in 2012 by shooting himself in the chest. Studies on his brain revealed that he had suffered from CTE following his retirement from the NFL.
Another figure has recently stepped forward due to issues of his own. Former Baltimore Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain posted a message on Twitter in which he talked about how he had played fullback since high school and that he needed to get his head checked.
McClain begged the NFL for help due to his brain being tired and the dark times that he is going through.
Getting my story out peeps just in case something happens to me I want everyone to know whats going on a daily for 24 hours. The darkest shyt ever. Its no joke peeps. My life is no joke man be in my shoes for a few hours smh some people are sad smh. Im not looking for sympathy— LeRon McClain (@LeRon_McClain33) August 27, 2019
A former fourth-round pick, McClain spent seven seasons in the NFL split between the Ravens, the San Diego Chargers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was viewed as one of the better players at his position and was even named First-Team All-Pro in 2008. With the accolades and the career earnings of $11 million, it would seem that he was set up for life, but that simply has not been the case. McClain has been struggling with mental health issues, and he is openly asking for help.
Sadly, this is a very common issue among former NFL players. Back in 2015, Jim Trotter wrote an article for ESPN in which he interviewed many former players, including Tennessee Titans legend Eddie George and former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Aaron Taylor.
During their interviews, both players, as well as many others, shared that they had all contemplated taking their own life due to depression. Some attributed the concussions as one reason while others simply talked about the lack of football in their lives.
"It'd be easier to start with which ones do NOT have depression," Taylor answered when asked about retirees suffering from depression. "Observationally, it's a significant percentage. It varies by degree, obviously, but everyone struggles."0comments
When Andrew Luck walked away from the NFL prior to turning 30, there were constant questions about the reasoning behind his decision. As the former Colts quarterback explained, the game and the injuries sustained while pursuing a Super Bowl victory were too mentally taxing. He had lost all joy from playing football, and the only way out of the hole was to simply quit the game that he had pursued his entire life.
Luck was an extremely successful quarterback and a very wealthy individual, but he too was suffering from all of his previous injuries. The NFL is a gladiator sport, but there are repercussions of the players putting their bodies on the lines on a weekly basis. McClain and other retirees are the proof of this fact.