Jim McMahon suffering from memory loss

Former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon says he’s suffering from memory loss that he attributes to injuries suffered on the football field.

“My memory’s pretty much gone,” McMahon, who’s best remembered as the quarterback of the Super Bowl-winning 1985 Bears, told the Chicago Tribune. “There are a lot of times when I walk into a room and forget why I walked in there. I’m going through some studies right now and I am going to do a brain scan. It’s unfortunate what the game does to you.”

The 51-year-old McMahon, who also played for the Chargers, Eagles, Vikings, Packers and Cardinals, said that when he played football, no one much cared when a player suffered a concussion.

“Back then, it was just tape an aspirin to your helmet and you go back in,” McMahon said. “I’ve worked with some neurosurgeons and it’s a very serious thing, man.”

Now McMahon is seeing just how serious it is.

85 responses to “Jim McMahon suffering from memory loss

  1. Not to be unsympathetic but I’m pretty sure McMahon had some brain injuries before he ever entered the NFL.

  2. Occupational Hazard.
    These guys get paid paid big bucks, they could just do a normal job like the rest of us, but…

  3. Unfortunate. This is why the league is cracking down on hits to the head, regardless of intention. Don’t really agree that its the defenders responsibility to adjust if the offensive player changes his body position that forces a helmet to helmet though.
    Also, how can the league think an 18 game schedule would help player safety at all?

  4. “There are a lot of times when I walk into a room and forget why I walked in there.”
    This happens to me and I’ve never had a concussion.
    Just because a person suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia and once played football, it does not mean that football caused the disease. There are plenty of people that suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and never played football. But that is the conclusion people are making.
    You can’t just study ex-players brains. You need to study the brains of non ex-players too. So far I’ve not read about the comparisons of an Alzheimer’s brain of a football player and an Alzheimer’s brain of a non football player. However, I’m willing to bet they look the same; even to the point that a doctor couldn’t tell which brain came from which person.

  5. They might want to include the mary jane and coco crispies factor whilst they “hunt for the real killers”…

  6. Hopefully he forgets everything before and after the 1985 season too…..
    Has he ever thought to attribute it to ummmm old age?? It does happen lol.

  7. Could the mass amounts of booze this guy has consumed in his life also be a contributing factor?

  8. sorry to inform you jim but when you hit 50 everbodys memory starts to go downhill. eat more eggs, that helps a little.

  9. What about all the non football related damage he might have suffered? Those drinks have their toll as well.

  10. The guy butted heads with his O-lineman for 10 yrs…Had nothing to do with onfield injuries..

  11. The saddest thing is that while NFL is taking concussions seriously, college football is not. Players regularly get hit in the head (no suspension or fines to the school) and play later in the game (really sick) or next week without any test. Question: Do all college football players get base brain scans before the season starts? Of course, not, way too much money for schools that make millions off of nearly free labor. If a he doesn’t perform, yank his scholarship. Try to study after a concussion.

  12. Make everyone wear the Schutt concussion resistant helmet. PERIOD. The NFL is now in CYA mode with the fines now. Spearing has always been a penalty, but now they are just NOW taking it REALLY seriously by going overboard. Amazing.
    A coworkers son plays for West Virginia on the O-line. A concussion helmet is MANDATORY for the entire team. It can easily be done.
    Until the NFL takes REAL steps instead of just throwing a $50K fine, you’re going to see more stories like these. Merrill Hodge, Troy Aikman, Steve Young and probably countless others could tell you as I can; if you’ve ever had your bell rung even once, its easier to get a concussion and the pain is unreal. I get migraines to this day that literally leave me crying because there is not much they can do about it. You want to just take your head off at the neck. REALLY do something about it.

  13. Head-butting your own players couldn’t have helped much Jim. Also, you’re 51, your memory has been in decline for 20-30 years. I am not saying you shouldn’t get checked out, but there isn’t a whole lot anyone can do if they find damage.
    I suspect if we started examining long distance runners we start to find some evidence of micro-shear brain damage from the shock waves produced by running. There really isn’t any doubt that football will cause brain damage. It’s just a case of trying to reduce it as much as possible, letting players decide whether they want to take the risk and then accepting that living tends to cause health problems. Though they are lot better than the alternative.

  14. jmac1013 says:
    November 10, 2010 8:43 AM
    “There are a lot of times when I walk into a room and forget why I walked in there.”
    This happens to me and I’ve never had a concussion.
    Just because a person suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia and once played football, it does not mean that football caused the disease. There are plenty of people that suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and never played football. But that is the conclusion people are making.
    You can’t just study ex-players brains. You need to study the brains of non ex-players too. So far I’ve not read about the comparisons of an Alzheimer’s brain of a football player and an Alzheimer’s brain of a non football player. However, I’m willing to bet they look the same; even to the point that a doctor couldn’t tell which brain came from which person.
    ________________
    And the denialists come rushing to the defense of their precious NFL once more. The same mentality that allows you to condition yourselves to cheer for vicious felons makes you unable to admit big hits satisfy your innate lust for violence. As long as the violence us commited against someone else. At least a few of you are honest enough to adopt the “screw ’em, they’re getting paid” attitude.
    And, yes, jmac1013, I’m sure it never occured to professional researchers in this field to study brains of non-players as a method of comparison. They probably never cross-checked those results against the brains of professional boxers, either. The NFL is just fine and you’re a great person and a manly man for supporting it blindly.

  15. hate to see this happen to anybody,but jim mcmahon is one of the biggest jerks in the history of sports!
    i’m sure his alcoholic ways had nothing to do with any of this!

  16. Memory loss happens all the time. Look at all the Ravens fans who can’t remember who they cheered for before the Browns came to Baltimore. I guess they stopped watching football when the Colts left.

  17. I believe this is what is called by logicians the error of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”
    I have memory loss and I used to play football, therefore it follows that the football caused the memory loss.

  18. Concussions are old hat and the NFL has done their best to avoid the problem, issuing banal statements as if they were really doing something about it.
    The physical damage is part of the game and the only way to avoid it is to do away with the game. IMHO, football doesn’t need to be played after college. Imagine all those players having to work a real job?!?!?!?! It’s not a sport but entertainment and not worth the human cost.
    I wonder what the concussion rate is in the NHL? Lots of contact there.
    The point jmac makes is taken into account in any decent study. There has to be a control group- similar age, sex, race, etc.

  19. Now he knows what Dan Henning (Dolphins OC) feels like. What? Where am I? Why am I here? Oh … we need a play? Ok.

  20. since he was always hurt and rarely played how does he know it was from football?maybe I would be more sympathetic if he had not become such a jerk after the bears won the superbowl. when you say the ring you got not playing as favre’s backup meant more to you than the one you got in chicago then I realy don’t care what happens to you jackass!

  21. “There are a lot of times when I walk into a room and forget why I walked in there.”
    ****************
    As two or three posters have noted — and as any neurologist will tell you — this is an inevitable part of the aging process. I’m 52, never played a down of organized football in my life, and the same thing has been happening to me for years.
    Jim McMahon is just starting to see that getting old ain’t for sissies.

  22. Yup…part of the job.
    Does he remember all the free crap he’s gotten over the years? Or the money he gets paid to show up to anything? Selective memory loss is awesome.

  23. Ha ha ha! Shout out to you Slap. The NFL really wants to do something about concussions? You’d hardly know it. And these fans acting like there’s no problem? More like denial than anything.
    Funny thing, why exactly did the NFL go to all this fiberglass and plastic? Couldn’t be for the sounds? Nah, it was to protect people. Of course it begs the question why they don’t wrap a guy’s head in aluminum if that really worked or even carbon fibre.
    Truth is the leather helmet offered 10 times the protection and wasn’t a weapon. Bad part? Doesn’t sound good mic’ed up.

  24. @ dalfan4ever
    Those Schutt helmets are not concussion PROOF. They have a newer hi tech suspension system that makes them more concussion resistant. Also, Riddell has the Revolution Speed and Xenith has also introduced a new hi tech helmet suspension that is more concussion resistant.
    None of these helmets will guarantee to prevent a concussion but will certainly help and is a step in the right direction.

  25. As usual PFT (take your pick of whom) fails to give all the details and finish the story. McMahon goes on to discuss that he regrets none of it. He also talks about knowing the risks and assuming the risks of a violent game. And he finishes stating that “It’s a hell of a lot better than a regular job.” The guy wasn’t looking for sympathy. He was just answering what was asked.

  26. # -Slap- says: November 10, 2010 9:05 AM
    jmac1013 says:
    November 10, 2010 8:43 AM
    “There are a lot of times when I walk into a room and forget why I walked in there.”
    This happens to me and I’ve never had a concussion.
    Just because a person suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia and once played football, it does not mean that football caused the disease. There are plenty of people that suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and never played football. But that is the conclusion people are making.
    You can’t just study ex-players brains. You need to study the brains of non ex-players too. So far I’ve not read about the comparisons of an Alzheimer’s brain of a football player and an Alzheimer’s brain of a non football player. However, I’m willing to bet they look the same; even to the point that a doctor couldn’t tell which brain came from which person.
    ________________
    And the denialists come rushing to the defense of their precious NFL once more. The same mentality that allows you to condition yourselves to cheer for vicious felons makes you unable to admit big hits satisfy your innate lust for violence. As long as the violence us commited against someone else. At least a few of you are honest enough to adopt the “screw ’em, they’re getting paid” attitude.
    And, yes, jmac1013, I’m sure it never occured to professional researchers in this field to study brains of non-players as a method of comparison. They probably never cross-checked those results against the brains of professional boxers, either. The NFL is just fine and you’re a great person and a manly man for supporting it blindly.
    ===============================
    I don’t have an agenda. I seek information in an effort to educate myself. I have not read any studies comparing the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers of a football player and a non football player. Despite your assumption that it has been done. If you have, please provide a link. I’d love to read it.
    The fact that you use the word “felon” when most players are not indicates that you are not interested in facts.

  27. Mc Mahon was suffering from memory loss even back in 1985, when he forgot who Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, and Terry Bradshaw were and thought that HE was the greatest quarterback ever.
    It was the drugs and booze, Jimmy.

  28. I wonder if this had anything to do with Tim Martin picking him up and slamming him on his head about 5 minutes after a play ended? Wasn’t the classiest play in packer history but an oddly gratifying one at that time in the rivalry. Well, everything worked out and he picked up his second ring wearing the green and gold!

  29. CYGNUS X-1 says:
    November 10, 2010 9:33 AM
    when you say the ring you got not playing as favre’s backup meant more to you than the one you got in chicago then I realy don’t care what happens to you jackass!
    ————————————————
    Oh crap! I had forgotten that. This guy beat the Patriots in the big game twice! Or at least was on a roster that did….
    Screw him!

  30. Acute head band disorder. It sweeping the nation. Affecting all douche bags that thought they were cool in the mid 80’s. Tragic!

  31. Liked McMahon. He was certainly an outspoken player at a time when alot werent. That ’85 Bears team was something special. I believe they are the standard which alot of teams are judged. Was fun to watch them. I remember when Jim was fined for wearing a nike headband… he came back the next week & wore a headband that had then commissioner “Rozelle” on a headband….lol. Too funny.
    sidenote. The little league football mini-bowls in my area were played at Jim McMahons former high school last weekend. Roy High School… in Roy, Utah. I have a son that goes to that school. They have his records & such listed, as some still exist.

  32. I honestly and truly hope this study leads to positive results because we have a major epidemic here in the NFL. Brain injuries are common not only among players but among fans. Especially fans residing in the city of Philadelphia.
    In my honest, expert opinion this city residing right in the crack of New York’s a– is ground zero for brain damage. In consistent and thorough research done by myself, I have come to realize that over 75% of Philadelphia Eagles fans think their team has actually won a superbowl! Now we haven’t been able to come to a undeniable conclusion that this is caused by brain damage, but one would have to assume that any fanbase where a majority believes a falsehood so great about their team is suffering from some serious brain condition.
    In all seriousness though, I just want to help these people. They are the fakest fans in the world.

  33. supposedly Merrill Hoge forgets where he lives sometimes..
    he mentioned on one of the lame ESPN shows that he will sometimes drive around his block for hours..

  34. It is something that comes with the job. You get hit enough in the head, its going to start affecting the brain. That is why NFL players make so much money, they are risking their lives daily.
    My grandfather was in construction back in the 60’s and 70’s working with asbestos, he also made the big bucks. Unfortunately, he was never able to spend that money… He died of lung cancer in his early 50’s.
    Those two things (Money) (Health Risks) usually go together.

  35. But here is the real question: whether or not the NFL is paying for his healthcare. I highly doubt it.
    The league wants to take safety seriously, but they don’t want to take care of the players after they stop playing. That’s what happened to Mike Webster and quite a few other players. Did you listen to Mark Schlereth a few weeks ago on Mike and Mike. He said the league refused to pay for any medical expenses after he stopped playing even though his injuries were directly related to him playing football. The league didn’t care.
    Goodell doesn’t care about players when they are done–he just wants to use them as the poster boys for fining players now.

  36. @jmac1013
    I have an issue of Time magazine, Feb 8 2010 in front of me. It has a lengthy article on football and head injuries. One interesting fact:” The chance a 30-49 year-old man will receive a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s or another memory related disease 1 in 1,000. The chance an NFL retiree aged 30-49 will get the same diagnosis 1 in 53″
    The statistics on High School football are scary to say the least. There is lots of info out there, find it, Google it, it’s there if you look for it.

  37. What a bunch of scumbags. Trashing a guy for talking about his memory loss? It’s his fault, because he made a lot of money? Because he used to party? So he deserves it? F’n disgusting. We all watch, and love, NFL football. Only bad thing I could say about the guy, is that he shouldn’t have always worn sunglasses indoors. The rest of this garbage makes me sick.
    Good luck Jim

  38. “cbohns says:
    November 10, 2010 9:17 AM
    I believe this is what is called by logicians the error of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”:
    ‘I have memory loss and I used to play football, therefore it follows that the football caused the memory loss’.”
    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    This.

  39. hahaha
    The NFL is now the same as Tobacco.
    It’s horrible for you, it will surely kill you in the long run.
    Lets ban it then.
    No way! It pays for stuff! We’ll just regulate the hell out of it so it looks like we are concerned for the players/users. But we know the real story. It’s a cash cow that people love and will continue to pay for, so it’s not going away.
    I’m personally waiting for someone to sue the NFL over second hand concussion activities, like a traffic accident or a ex lineman going postal.

  40. In this brief article McMahon offers an one example of “forgetting why he walked into a room” and immediately everyone on this site believes they diagonsed the problem and calls him a moron; its old age and drinking. I’m sure there is more to the story.
    Slap nailed it on the head, so I won’t repeat it…

  41. Why the hell did I even click onto this blog —– I can’t remember —— Checking my bank account though and seeing my smallish house I bet I never played in the NFL ——- Hey! don’t play Pro Football — Get a real job ——Maybe become a miner or a Fire fighter or a construction laborer they only had 345 fatality’s in 2007 or maybe a taxi driver they get robed and shot all the time or maybe work in a convenience store at night for ten bucks an hour and (again) risk getting robed and shot every night, that’s a thousand times more dangerous or become a roofer or a cop or an electrical power line installer or an iron or steel worker or build a bridge sometime —– All these jobs make the NFL look like a walk in the park —- Hell, the NFL isn’t even close to the most dangerous job and pays hundreds of times better —– Yeah I think I would take my chances with the NFL over many other jobs.

  42. jmac1013:
    You can’t just study ex-players brains. You need to study the brains of non ex-players too. So far I’ve not read about the comparisons of an Alzheimer’s brain of a football player and an Alzheimer’s brain of a non football player. However, I’m willing to bet they look the same; even to the point that a doctor couldn’t tell which brain came from which person.
    ————————————————–
    You forgot to mention where you got your medical degree. please.

  43. I wonder if Jim still plays barefeet golf. A couple years back I saw him playing in a celebrity event and it was raining. Jimbo was slipping all over the place and on a tee shot on 9 he slipped and hit someone in the nutz in the gallery. It was SFU.

  44. did he also mentioned all the drugs and drinking he did when he was younger? newsflash.. i never played pro football and i can’t even remember 20 years ago from my life.. that’s just life buddy! and a lot of pot 🙂 lol

  45. remembering McMahon from his playing days, I am not so sure football has anything to do with his memory loss…

  46. willmose says:
    November 10, 2010 8:51 AM
    The saddest thing is that while NFL is taking concussions seriously, college football is not. Players regularly get hit in the head (no suspension or fines to the school) and play later in the game (really sick) or next week without any test. Question: Do all college football players get base brain scans before the season starts? Of course, not, way too much money for schools that make millions off of nearly free labor. If a he doesn’t perform, yank his scholarship. Try to study after a concussion
    —————
    Concussions do happen in college football. BUT…the level of play is the difference. pro players are faster, stronger and hit with much more force then college players. Therefore it isnt as much of an issue as it is in the pros.

  47. 51 Is relatively young and unless there’s a medical reason or in his case, physical condition fromo football, your average 51 year old shouldn’t suffer from memory loss yet. Male life expectancy has risen so much and again, 51 isn’t that old.

  48. Memory loss is a part of aging: Forgetting why you entered a room, forgetting the name of a grandchild, forgetting where you parked the car, etc. Happens to almost everyone regardless of profession.

  49. What exactly does the “punky qb” have to remember? Look at your SB ring and say thank you to Sweetness and a sick defense.

  50. funny (at least I think it is) story about McMahon…
    a friend of mine was at a party for McMahon when his book came out. my friend is in a group of guys, including McMahon, just talking, nothing specific, just general BS. some girl approaches him, interrupting time with the guys obviously, and gives some sob-story about just turning 30, was hoping Jim would autograph her copy of his book. totally lame way to scam a signature.
    McMahon’s response? direct quote: “sign it yourself. who’s going to know?”
    he’s a classic…

  51. Dear Michael ah er MIkey?
    I’ve had memory loss for a long time!
    Hell I even forgot I won a Superbowl with the Packers because I wore a Bears Jersey to the Whitehouse ceremony.
    I guess Karma drinking and drugs can be a bitch
    Who am I writing to again?
    Mumble mumble drool If I’m good on Sunday’s I get Milk
    My 3 favorite cities are Belgium Belgium and Kansas city
    Jimmy

  52. No wonder that giant check from Publisher’s Clearing House hasn’t been delivered to my door yet…
    I’ve been dressed in a pink towel for three years.

  53. Walking into rooms and forgeting why I went in has happened to me for decades. I don’t think it is much worse today, at age 47, than it was a quarter century ago.
    There are numerous legal occupations that have more associated risks than football and most don’t get compensated nearly as well

  54. @GBfanForever: It wasn’t Tim Martin who bodyslammed McMahon, it was Charles Martin. You’re thinking of Tim Harris.
    And he didn’t slam him on his head, he slammed him on his shoulder, blowing up his rotator cuff.
    One thing you did get right is, yes, it was oddly gratifying.

  55. Oh please, this concussion BS in teh NFL is getting out of hand. Hey Jimmy, maybe you are just getting old.
    I am about the same age, and I can assure you that I forget why i walk into rooms all the time. I forget what I was talking about and I forget peoples names. Part of it is age part of it is apathy. Sounds to me like you are whining simply because you need the attention and maybe some of the NFL cash.
    If you don’t like what I am saying, I dont care, because you will probably forget what I said in ten minutes.

  56. I always know why I walked into the room, but sometimes it’s the wrong room. Wife hates it when I put uncooked food in the clothes dryer or urinate on the television.

  57. True story. I played golf with Jim McMahon in a charity pro am golf tournament a year or two ago, and no joke, he drank 22 beers over the course of the 5-6 hour round. (We counted because we were impressed).
    Just a hunch, that might not help memory problems.

  58. The posts on this thread confirm some things I learned sitting in the stands at my first NFL game, age 10. Football is a great game, the athletes are phenomenal, and half the fans are total a**holes.

  59. Not to be too cynical but it’s called age Jim. I’m almost 50 and do that kind of stuff and haven’t played football since high school. I forget why I walked into rooms, I have a hell of a time remembering actors and musicians names anymore.

  60. Looking at his history, he likely has something going on in his life that he doesn’t want to get blamed for. This guy had some questionable injuries that only seemed to occur when the Bears were losing big. He has always been a douche but if he is suffering due to his playing days I feel sorry for him.

  61. The Punky QB know as McMahon! lol!!
    That was my boy – he took marketing to a whole new level, he was prime-time way before prime time!

  62. @Tinbender, -slap-, and jmac1013 …
    jmac1013 is right about making sure the data is there. You’d be shocked at the number of court cases that have been decided based on anecdotal evidence when the dots couldn’t actually be connected. I believe in post-concussion syndrome and I’m not an apologist for anything, but medical science requires DATA. They may have it, Tinbender, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen stats in Time that couldn’t be backed up with legitimate research.
    As for the symptom McMahon describes … it’s not unusual for people to walk into a room and forget why they are there. I imagine it’s happened to everyone on PFT at least once. That can be a product of aging, stress, hormonal surges (as with pregnancy) or even hyper-intellect (smart people with too much on their mind).
    Scientists have a term called “automaticity” that refers to engaging in common behavior–like driving to work–and zoning out for a bit then suddenly realizing you’ve driven several miles without knowing it. Before McMahon panics that he’s suffering from dementia, he needs to have some scans and to show much more significant symptoms.

  63. I’ve lost 50 IQ points listening to the NFL denialists talk about aging and the study of dementia. Believe it or not, there have been more studies of this back to high school and college, and they found that a normal hits in practice, are like being in a car crash at 30 mph!

    Damage occurs to the head with normal contact!
    Football as a sport will change dramatically more as these studies will show how this violence causes horrofic damage to the players. And yes they study non-football players for brain damage to compare….

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!