Sean Morey, originally from Toronto, was an NFL wide receiver until 2009, however his primary responsibility was a special teams gunner. He’s the guy that sprints down the field and turns his body into a wrecking ball in an attempt to thwart the punt or kickoff returner.
He suffered a number of concussions during his playing days — so many he can’t recall the total– and as co-chair of the NFL Players Association concussion and traumatic brain injury committee, Morey’s mandate is to educate his brethren on the dangers of such traumatic head injuries.
As Morey has become more and more educated about the long-term effects of concussions, he and his wife are fearful of what the future will bring him and his family.
“What I stress out about at night is what it’s going to be like in 20 years,” Cara Morey told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t even like to think about it because it’s so scary. But sometimes, I find myself thinking about what he’s going to be like and how he’s going to change.”
Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or severe depression. Any of these could be waiting around the corner as Morey ages, due to the repetitive head trauma he suffered as a professional football player.
“Most players with untreated head injuries are on their deathbeds by their early 50s,” neurologist and author Dr. Eric Braverman said.
But Morey is doing something about that possible issue, as he has entered the Sports Legacy Institute program where he will donate his brain to them after his death.
Morey is like me and others out there; the game has an inherent risk for head injuries. He contends that as professionals they accept that risk, but the players need to be educated on the long-term effects of concussions. Earning a living, and a good one at that, by playing in the NFL is something very few get to do, and giving it up for a “headache” is something current players can’t fathom.
In fact, I had a conversation with one current NFL player about being listed on the injury report with a concussion, to which is response was, “I am always concussed, they just caught me this time.” And according to this player that is the general sentiment among the “non-superstars”. In other words, what he was telling me is that for players on the practice squad, or are low on the depth chart and play special teams, missing a game could mean they get cut and lose the job.
The game does not have to change, the education of the players is paramount, and further research is needed. Please take a few minutes and help with that research. Anyone can partake, and all can help.