Head Trauma: The Wives Of Two Former NFL Players Discuss Their Husbands Issues

Uploaded by MSLawdotedu on 14.04.2012

and and clearly now when you look back and I see the images of his brain and I hear
doctor mckey you know say his area his his brain was it was damaged
significantly in the areas that control impulses and decision making and you
know emotional liability all the things that are seriously hampered you know by
that that you need to get in order with substance abuse and i believe uh... with
all my heart that he's dead because of chronic because of CTE
did you know your husband was suffering from the effects of head trauma
had absolutely no idea
in fact uh... when i got the phone call about donating his brain
uh it was really the first time
I had ever thought about at all and in fact i said you know i guess uh
you can have his brain but you're not going to find what you're looking for because
I had never known tom to have had a concussion
had never heard of chronic traumatic encephalopothy
and you know in fact of all in watching him struggle for all for
really a number of years
it never once crossed my mind
never occurred to him
that it could have anything to do with playing sports
ron johnson was an NFL running back from nineteen sixty nine to nineteen
seventy five
the majority of that time with the new york giants with whom he earned two
pro bowl honors
his wife started noticing changes in his behavior in two thousand five
three years before his diagnosis of alzheimer's
my husband uh is going to be sixty four next week and he was diagnosed officially
by july of '08
when he was sixty
so we started noticing as
a family
uh two to three years prior to
uh '08 as early as '05
when he was in his late fifties mid to late fifties just so many things and initially it was flukish
losing his keys not remembering where he parked the car
getting maybe an extra speeding ticket you know just
erratic type things
not following up with business things we have a family business
and uh my son
our son works
with their uh my husband
in the family business
after undergrad he went into the business so he's was noticing it at
the office
on a day in and day out basis Iwas noticing it at home on a personal level and his moods and his behavior his uh personality changed
he became much more highly agitated
much more frequently
inconsequential things
small things set him off I
subsequently learned from the doctors that this was his way of covering he understood that he was uh
having diminished cognitive functioning and because he's such a bright person
this was his way of compensating for it and when he failed
he was angry with himself and so he vented outwardly
because he was so frustrated so this went on and on for two or three years and then it just became increasingly increasingly obvious that there was a disconnect that something was terribly terribly wrong 0:03:26.059,0:03:32.779 and he himself started to withdraw because he understood he was not able to function
how many concussions would you estimate he had
well that's just it technically my husband's never been diagnosed
as concussed and you know as I've educated myself my husband uh stopped playing in nineteen seventy eight 0:03:47.919,0:03:51.989 back then the definition of concussion was so very very narrow
a player had to be literally knocked
out unconscious
taken off the field on a stretcher
before someone would say mm maybe something's going on here
you know fortunately my husband was always able to jump up
you know he might have been
down briefly we were always more concerned he was a running back about appendage
injuries which my husband did he had
two zippers one on each knee
and a thigh a hematoma
and later on after he retired he had a uh two vertebra replaced in his neck
so it was always appendages never ever did we think about any type of
cognitive injury or whatever
but obviously it was there it was just latent we didn't know about it
so uh that's our story
there's no concussion history
but there definitely is a trauma a a head there's no doubt about that 0:04:53.449,0:05:00.330 this excerpt is brought to you by the massachusetts school of law