Between new medical information and a number of former players committing suicide, the issue of concussions and what the NFL can do about them has been a more prominent part of football discussion than anything else than the games themselves during the last year. Every month or so, the public gets a sobering reminder of exactly how much of a toll the game can take on long-time professional players.
The combination of repeated shots to the head and not knowing what to do after walking away from something as hyper-competitive as pro football leaves a number of players with serious physical and emotional problems after they leave the game. Like many other former players, Green Bay Packers fan favorite Dorsey Levens has just recently become aware of what playing football did to his body. The folks over at SB Nation's San Fransisco 49ers blog Niners Nation were lucky enough to conduct a personal phone interview with Levens, where he talked about the effects of concussions, what he's doing with his time these days, and what can be done to help former players.
After the jump, you can find some of Levens' quotes from the interview, but I highly recommend that you pop over to Niners Nation and read the entire article.
First, here's what Levens has been doing since he left football.
Aside from a successful football career, Dorsey is wrapping up a documentary entitled Bell-Rung: An Alarming Portrait of Professional Football. In the film, we hear from players like Jamal Lewis, Ellis Hobbs and Takeo Spikes about head trauma in the sport of football. Along with former NFL great Mike Ditka, Dorsey also heads up Gridiron Greats. This is an organization that exists to provide aid to players who cannot help themselves.
And here's some of what he had to say about concussions in football, all the way down to the Pop Warner level, not just in the NFL.
"I've been out of the league for seven years. It wasn't even an issue when I played, nobody talked about it ... There wasn't a lot of dialogue -- I've never had a diagnosed concussion ... Every time you'd get your bell rung, you're taught from Pee Wee league to shake it off and get back in the game. We didn't know that was a concussion and that too many of those could lead to guys having dementia, and for some guys, in their mid-20's."
Once again, I really encourage you to pop over to NN and read the entire article. It's worth your time.