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Michael Pittman talks about the effects of his 7-8 concussions

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A former NFL running back who spent 11 seasons in the game has provided some intriguing insights into the life of a former football player.  Michael Pittman, who played 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Buccaneers, and Broncos, told WDAE radio in Tampa that he suffered seven or eight concussions during his career.

“Just like the former players that are suing the NFL, I suffer from the same symptoms of course,” Pittman said, via JoeBucsFan.com.  “The headaches, memory loss, vision loss. . . .  Sometimes you get depressed.  And there’s some times you really can’t control it, just the way you feel, your emotions.”

Pittman admitted that, at one point, he needed to see a psychiatrist — and to his credit he had no qualms talking about a health condition that, despite the inexplicable social stigma, is no different than having a broken bone.

Pittman said that people criticizing the players who are suing the league don’t understand what the former players are going through.  “The NFL needs to make these players that [are] playing more aware of the long-term effects of playing,” Pittman said.  “Because when I was playing, they didn’t do that.”

He added that, if he knew more during his career the long-term effects of concussions, Pittman may have retired after only two of three.  He said he hasn’t sued yet, but he may.  (The clock is ticking on the statute of limitations; the NFL likely would argue it already has expired, even if he sued today.)

Pittman, like many former players, is concerned about how he’ll feel in his 50s, given that he’s currently having issues at only the age of 36.

Regardless of whether he chooses to join in the concussion lawsuit, here’s hoping Pittman and all other former players suffering from the effects of concussions get the medical assistance they need to lead long and normal lives.

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14 Responses to “Michael Pittman talks about the effects of his 7-8 concussions”
  1. tednancy says: May 31, 2012 1:29 PM

    Concussions have now become the No. 1 problem going forward for the NFL.

    The NFL is pretty fortunate regarding the timing of these concussion stories; if we knew last year what we now know I wonder how it would have affected the lockout?

  2. thegreatgabbert says: May 31, 2012 1:39 PM

    “Or, maybe it was 13. Or 4. At least 2. I think.”.

  3. trigger924 says: May 31, 2012 1:46 PM

    As a former pro snowboarder ( 6 concussions and a coma). As well as a collegiate athlete I am sick of the play for money. There are thousands of people who didn’t make a quarter of an nfl players money in a lifetime and suffer from the same symptoms, but push through to become a productive member of society (I currently do cancer research). The effects are real which I have seen first hand. But anyone who experienced the effects has chosen their path and many have been rewarded handsomely for it. Let’s take the lawsuit money from the nfl and invest it in research and safety r&d instead of letting players whO mismanaged their money and are looking for another handout use Tge system.

  4. elgranderojo79 says: May 31, 2012 1:57 PM

    I respect the position that many former players are in, but when they talk about depression and suicidal tendancies in football players they completely ignore the mental stress involved with an enormous life style change for retired players. Many people go through depression under similar circumstances, e.g. leaving the military after many years of service, divorce, death of a loved one, etc. Any major life change like this can cause depression and they shouldn’t exclusively be blamed on concussions. I’m sure there are many former players who have had significant concussions that have made the transition into retirement, but probably had to work at it to find a new identity. I’m not trying to completely exonerate the role concussions may play, but they are not the only factor here.

  5. hyzers says: May 31, 2012 2:01 PM

    He may be suffering from post-career neurological symptoms but man……… dude had some freakishly large triceps.

  6. dmq13 says: May 31, 2012 2:10 PM

    His symptoms seem to be pretty much the same things most other human beings experience….so what’s the deal? I think most of them are just broke and need to try and find a way to get money.

  7. buckybadger says: May 31, 2012 2:34 PM

    I respect the older players for making the game what it is today but i don’t buy that they didn’t know the effects.

    I remember when Aikman and Young started to sustain concussions the worries of the long term effects it would have. Boxing has been noting this for over 60 years. To me it is like my parents telling me they didn’t know that smoking would harm them. Really? You didn’t think inhaling smoke wasn’t going to have long term effects on your body?

    Of course they should continue research and make the game safe as possible. You never saw me and will never see me say Goodell is ruining the game with his rule changes and these guys should start wearing skirts. These players also have to understand that there are risks involved in playing contact sports. They resists all extra pads or things to help make things safer and complain later.

  8. chaser44 says: May 31, 2012 2:35 PM

    I have said it before and I will say it again, the concussion lawsuit is nothing but a money grab by people who mismanaged their money. If you dont know that a concussion is bad for you then you have no one to blame but yourself or maybe your parents and teachers for not teaching you basic life lessons. Its like if you put your hand in a fire it will burn you and hurt if you hit your head so hard that you have blurred vision, memory loss and dizziness than you probably have a concussion, its not fing rocket science here people. It doesnt matter if you got a concussion playing football or falling in the shower, concussions are not good for you. 20 something and 30 something year old grown men should not need their employers to explain to them that a concussion is not a good thing.

  9. hauts81 says: May 31, 2012 2:45 PM

    are these players so dense that they actually need someone to tell them that multiple brain injuries might have lasting effects? faced with the facts I think a lot of players would ignore them anyway and keep playing.

  10. mjkelly77 says: May 31, 2012 3:38 PM

    How about the concussions he suffered in high school and college? Ohhh, I forgot, those won’t result in any money.

  11. pesh00 says: May 31, 2012 3:41 PM

    So let me get this straight. It’s the NFL’s fault for not clearly stating that running into another person head on at full steam for 5-10 years may or may not cause long-term brain damage?

    Even if they did that, the next lawsuit is because it happened to someone in 2 or 3 years vs. 5-10 years.

    Give me a break.

  12. tfbuckfutter says: May 31, 2012 4:14 PM

    Is it true that you can receive a concussion so severe it causes you to try and run over your wife with your SUV?

  13. joyjoy69 says: Jun 1, 2012 12:08 AM

    Like has been pointed out on this site in the past, anything the league and/or NFLPA gives the former players on this front would be charity. That said, it would be magnanimous of them to take care of the former players. the NFLPA should see this as an important descendent for investing in their own future. The league should see an amicable solution as a reasonable (and cheaper) solution to the alternative. The retired players should see anything they get as a blessing.

    I can see why they are pushing for it now, but I just don’t see many of them having a legal leg to stand on when so many have admitted to lying to coaches and staff in order to stay in the game. The league has been very much in front of this issue, without hiding from the implications of the long-term effects of the injuries. It would be unjust to punish them for this. But the former players need to be properly cared for, if there is any hope for this game.

  14. exibitsman says: Jun 1, 2012 4:58 AM

    here we go again you choose to play football you weren’t forced to play pitterman you were payed very well to play a meaningless game. I have 8 degenritive disk in my back. from 20+ years of pouring concrete i chose to do that type of work when i was 18years old i dont blame anyone or anything for my injuries. and i did make a 1\10 of what you made playing football.

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