Awhile ago I mentioned I had stopped watching the NFL because of the league’s indifference and denial of the very real neurological and other problems caused by participating in professional football. Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Perlman ran a profile of former NFL defensive lineman Dave Pear who is quite blunt about how he views his playing experience now,
I wish I never played football. I wish that more than anything. Every single day, I want to take back those years of my life . . .
Pear was a Pro Bowl defensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders in 1981. After 5 years of playing, however, he was out of the league and starting on a lifetime of surgeries and pain. He tells Pearlman he spent his final two seasons at Oakland in constant pain which the team encouraged him to simply play through,
Those last two years in Oakland were very, very difficult times. I was in pain 24 hours per day, and my employers failed to acknowledge my injury. Sure, I won a Super Bowl ring. But was it worth giving up my health for a piece of jewelry? No way. Those diamonds have lost their luster.
Pear has a fascinating blog where he discusses the league’s idiocy and various attempts by retired players to try to get the NFL to own up to its responsibilities.