If you visit here enough and take the time to look at the comments at the end of the posts you might notice a person named “Phil”. He especially took time to comment on the work of Terry Ott and his seven-part series about CTE in the CFL. Thanks to Terry and this blog we are all able to get the genuine views of a former player in the CFL, Phil Colwell, via The Record from Canada and Terry Ott;
Colwell’s brief CFL career ended in 1981 after a violent on-field collision in a game at Winnipeg Stadium. He was playing for the Toronto Argonauts on that crisp and sunny day in October.
Covering a kickoff, Colwell, a solid six-two, 195-pounder with sprinter speed, was blindsided through the ear hole of his helmet by a Winnipeg player and was knocked out cold. He lay motionless on the field while a trainer ran to his assistance. No penalty was called on the play.
This is the type of story that Ott has sent out to tell from the beginning, placing faces and human behind the issue that has become one of the preeminent problems with football. Yes, this is not isolated to football but we would be remiss if we didn’t expose and tell the stories of the most oft afflicted in the “head games” we now find ourselves knee-deep in;
Colwell, who graduated from Laurier with a psychology degree, found work with a Scottish government agency but continued to suffer bouts of depression and mood swings. He says accompanying anger issues and self-medicating led to moderate bouts of short-term or primary memory loss. Colwell says he frequently “loses the right words.”
The Scottish doctors he consulted were not familiar with professional football and gave him inconclusive diagnoses for his headaches and memory loss.
Colwell, who believes he suffered about half a dozen concussions in his career, is speaking out now because he believes there are “many, many other CFL players with concussion issues” who are suffering in silence. Some do not understand what they are going through and others are afraid to “come out,” fearing it will hurt their current working careers.
Colwell asked that his employer not be identified in this story. “I don’t want them to think I am brain damaged,” he says.
Make sure you take some time to read the story that Ott wrote about Mr. Colwell – their connection being made right here in this small space on the interwebs – and spread the information.
Exposure to the issue will be painful for many different reasons, but with this exposure comes some answers and perhaps some closure for the issue. Solutions cannot be made unless we truly know and identify the root cause. Certainly in the case of Mr. Colwell, mismanagement of the initial injury seems to logically be a good place to start.
Thank you to Terry Ott for sharing this work.