Former NFL player Ephraim Salaam now co-hosts a podcast on the Grantland Network.
Today, he spoke at length about how football affected his long-term health, and how fears that he’ll become one of the many players who die too soon (he references a 2008 CBC study which concluded NFL lineman have an average life expectancy of 52).
Here are the key parts, and the full video if below:
- He guesses that he probably had a concussion in every season he played pro football. Now, he has simple, but scary mental lapses: “You forget just regular stuff. The other day I was washing the dishes and I was rinsing a dish out but instead of putting it in the dishwasher, I opened the refrigerator and put it in the refrigerator.”
- He is scared to death of what other long-term health issues await him: “So have I taken years off my life? Without a doubt. This is a national statistic: the average life-span for an offensive and defensive lineman is 52 years old. I’m 36 years old, I have a one-year-old son. … It scares the crap out of me.”
- The astroturf that many teams had during the 90s and early 00s ripped his body apart: “I started playing ’98. Number one, we played on the roughest surface on the planet. There was literally some concrete with some terrible carpet rolled over the top of it. And we played all our games on that. That’s what it was. And that literally ate my body away. Literally every year you play you take years off your life. “
- He wakes up hurting every day: “My knees, shoulders, hands will never be the same again. My back, bulging disk. … You will have issues for the rest of your life after playing football. You subject your body to hellacious impacts … And to think that you’re invincible after you’ve stopped playing and everything is just going to go back to [normal]. I wake up everyday in some typo of pain. Every. Single. Day. And that’s just what it is for the rest of my life.”
Here’s the full video:
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