Jim McMahon, former Bears quarterback, is in the fight of his life right now as one of several former players named in a federal lawsuit filed last month accusing the NFL of dispensing narcotics to keep players on the field when they shouldn't have been.
Now the players are paying the price. McMahon, for example, has suffered many side effects of multiple concussions. He suffers from a broken neck that he says the team trainers knew about, but didn't tell him. He suffers from kidney damage, broken ribs, and an addiction to pain killers.
And worst of all, he suffers from dementia.
He was diagnosed five years ago with dementia. He began to notice symptoms after he was forgetting simple things like people's names when they met him. However, he became worried and sought help when he began forgetting the names of friends he had for years.
He would get lost on his way home. He recalls such frustrating moments as having to call his girlfriend, Laurie Navon, to ask how to get home.
He said of the feeling, ''I don't know where I'm at. I don't know how I got on this road. I told her, 'Aliens abducted me and put me over here.'''
Navon said that his mood swings were out of control, that he was ''mad at himself, mad at the world.''
During a very dark time, Jim McMahon thought about taking his life. The pain in his head was so bad that he would lie on his bed in the dark for weeks, only leaving for appearances.
''I am glad I don't have any weapons in my house or else I am pretty sure I wouldn't be here,'' McMahon said. ''It got to be that bad.''
Fortunately doctors in New York have been able to drain the fluid off of his brain every few months that was causing so much pain. Spinal fluid was leaking through a rotation in one of his vertebrae from a neck injury. The doctors invented a machine to realign his neck and allow the fluid to drain.
McMahon is hoping that by speaking out and being involved in this lawsuit against the NFL that he can prevent this mistreatment of players from continuing.
''The NFL continues to make billions and billions of dollars every year,'' McMahon said. ''And some of these guys are homeless. They don't know who they are, and they were the ones who built this brand to where it's at.''
Time will tell if justice will be served in this case and if things will shake up in the world of football.
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