TCB Commenter Highlighted in Canadian Press

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.

9 thoughts on “TCB Commenter Highlighted in Canadian Press

  1. March 18, 2014 / 13:32

    We still cannot comment about our concussion bill because the new version is not being released and the politics are crazy. I am not a government person!! Blog coming when we are free to write about this process.

    Katherine Price Snedaker, MSW THE CONCUSSION CONFERENCE Founder

    203.984.0860 @PinkConcussions @SportsCAPP

    Concussion Education Advocate Concussion Mental Health Social Worker Mom of Two Sons with Multiple Concussions

    • Phil Colwell March 25, 2014 / 13:00

      male or female many sports can lead to the same result and i am happy to see it is being followed up by both genders; knowledge is the tool for change.

  2. Sally Rothery Skinner March 19, 2014 / 05:54

    My significant other was a pro boxer when he was young and we can surely relate to this problem! ……. Phil is a long time high school friend and I hope that by speaking out he finds help for himself and others! This new information can at the least prevent others from experiencing this horrendous affliction and give hope to fellow sufferers!! Change is needed!

    • Phil Colwell March 25, 2014 / 11:40

      thank you sally; many of us ( like your significant other) know there is no cure for this at present but with people understanding the issues we have been dealt with like an unlucky hand in poker ; it makes life more enjoyable knowing that maybe i am helping others by coming out about it.

  3. Thomas L. April 18, 2014 / 14:31

    I am a fan of American football and I feel guilty at times for liking the sport so much. The sport is violent that there no easy fixes, but maybe making the helmut of a softer material that gave little bit more would be a good idea going forward.

    • phil colwell April 29, 2014 / 09:56

      interesting thought Thomas; we would have to look back at the earliest days of football when they wore such helmets as they do over here i believe in rugby league. ( UK ). when you have no face mask and a soft shell as apposed to what you see now i doubt any of them ( i wouldn,t ) would lead with their head as a weapon and there would be far less head to head collissions; unfortunately that does not take away the head bangers to the ground which would be worse for a player with a soft helmet; my advice is to get rid of kick and return; that is where the most damage is done as players collide at top speed from opposite directions after a 40 or more yard run; that is how i was KO,D

  4. peter mckinnon May 24, 2014 / 16:22

    having gotten to know phil colwell i can vouch that phil certainly does suffer brief memory loss and one day can remember my name and the next having to really think about it before remembering what my name is. also the depression that brain damage causes is also very visible at times. i do believe phil has made the right choice in highlighting the brain damage that cfl in the early 80s caused many unfortunate young men. and i do whole heartidly believe that some compensation is due. if these young men had known then the damage the way they were tackling was causing them im sure they’d have done it differently.

    • phil35 May 31, 2014 / 09:00


      • phil colwell November 1, 2014 / 16:51

        i know i am different now than when i was younger; and i can see why many players from the past wanted to end it and did ; i sometimes think the same thing but i remember that if i did that i would hurt more people than me; i am not misinformed about CTE as i know i am in the later stages; memories mood swings etc; depression from CTE is so strong that you do not want to live anymore but i do it for frieinds and family; that is the only thing that keeps me alive..

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