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Pitcock overcomes video-game addiction, returns to football

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As it turns out, the folks who wrote the groan-inducing 1980s song Pac-Man Fever were on to something.

In 2008, former Colts defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock retired from the NFL to a video-game addiction.  Specifically, the addiction was a manifestation of depression and ADHD, very real illnesses that continue to have unfair social stigmas attached to them.

The fact that Pitcock would walk away from an NFL career because of these problems demonstrates how real they are.

Pitcock, according to the Orlando Sentinel, has overcome the addiction and the depression and is now playing football again, for the AFL’s Orlando Predators.

For Pitcock, the popular series Call of Duty unleashed the illness.

“I couldn’t put it down,” Pitcock said.  “If I visited family or friends, I timed it down to the last second where I could still play another game.”

His routine was simple.  “I’d go to McDonald’s for breakfast, order a bunch of food, come home and play for 18 hours into the next day, then crash, sleep for seven hours and do it all over again,” Pitcock said.

And so, after one season in the NFL, he walked away.  “I didn’t want football to be a part of my life,” Pitcock said. “It wasn’t just football.  I felt like doing nothing.”

The situation got worse after he retired.

“I broke about four games in half, burned them, microwaved them, put a torch to them, letting my aggression out to get rid of them,” he said. “But the next day, I was at Target buying another game.”

Pitcock eventually got treatment, and he’s doing well.  His journey should provide hope and inspiration to the estimated four million Americans who are addicted to video games.

Though he has tried a few times to get back into the league since being cured of his addiction, it makes sense with 90 roster spots for someone to take another look at whether he can get back to the form that made him a third-round pick only five years ago.  Especially since giving Pitcock another shot would be another small step toward recognizing that mental illnesses are no different than physical injuries.

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42 Responses to “Pitcock overcomes video-game addiction, returns to football”
  1. flapjackdaddy says: Jun 8, 2012 9:55 AM

    Unfortunately, some will blame the video games.

  2. 5150cd says: Jun 8, 2012 9:56 AM

    Call of Duty is to marijuana, as World of Warcraft is to meth.

  3. hawks12 says: Jun 8, 2012 9:57 AM

    He has been back playing football for a few years now he was in the seahawks training camp 2 years ago story is real old.

  4. godofwine330 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:01 AM

    ADD and depression are real things. I suffer from both, though the ADD is undiagnosed. I am gettin ghelp with the depression, but that may not save my marriage. People need to stop looking at asking for help or saying that you are overwhelmed is not a sign of weakness. I thought it was for a long time and neglected to share my problem with my wife until it was far too late.

  5. tombradysponytail says: Jun 8, 2012 10:02 AM

    He’s probably pretty good at COD-MW, then. I wonder if he would want to join our COD team for a tournament this weekend….

  6. bigbluenationdb says: Jun 8, 2012 10:04 AM

    Maybe he should have put the bong away also. Addicted to video games? That sounds like college students playing Madden and Call of Duty all day because they are stoned out their mind.

  7. censoredpost says: Jun 8, 2012 10:04 AM

    Pwned…

  8. CKL says: Jun 8, 2012 10:08 AM

    *waits for De Smith to suggest this guy sue the NFL over this*

  9. deeeeetroit says: Jun 8, 2012 10:09 AM

    cam newton is the same way about madden…

  10. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM

    This is why the Steelers didn’t draft him

  11. sundayisthebestday says: Jun 8, 2012 10:12 AM

    Only five years? Five years is a long time to be away from the game. He’s already tried to get back into the NFL and failed. I wish him all the luck in the world, but his days in the NFL are over.

  12. edhochuli says: Jun 8, 2012 10:13 AM

    Glad he’s doing better. Call of Duty sucks anyway.

  13. len462 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:13 AM

    Great article Mike. Thanks for doing stories like this. The more we talk about mental illnesses the quicker the majority of people will not attach stigmas to them. Brandon Marshal was right. Many suffer alone because of other peoples perceptions.

  14. fin72 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:23 AM

    What a loser.

  15. pooflingingmonkey says: Jun 8, 2012 10:28 AM

    Addiction comes in many forms. I hope he’s able to overcome it. Life’s too short to waste.

  16. pooflingingmonkey says: Jun 8, 2012 10:29 AM

    len462 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:13 AM “…Many suffer alone because of other peoples perceptions.”

    fin72 says:
    Jun 8, 2012 10:23 AM
    “What a loser.”

    Case in point.

  17. sj39 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:30 AM

    I’m still addicted to Doom.

  18. jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:30 AM

    Hold up: Listen to how intensely you describe the addiction, “I couldn’t put it down,” ,

    The situation got worse after he retired.

    “I broke about four games in half, burned them, microwaved them, put a torch to them, letting my aggression out to get rid of them,” he said. “But the next day, I was at Target buying another game.”

    But all of a sudden he “got treatment” and is fine now??? Either the situation wasn’t that critical to begin with or this story is bogus.

  19. agcooney108 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:32 AM

    shows you can be addicted to anything (yes drugs aren’t the only thing you can get addicted of, shocking right?)

  20. patfic15 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:32 AM

    I broke a madden disc after it froze on me. I was also at Target the next day getting another.

  21. antalicus says: Jun 8, 2012 10:34 AM

    Video game addiction to Call of Duty? really? I mean it can be fun but I never found myself wanting to play that game anywhere near 18 hours.

    … at least its not minesweeper.

  22. fin72 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:39 AM

    This guy came back 2 years ago with the same exact story and signed with the Seahawks and got cut in no time all. Obviously he’s just not very good. Don’t fall for lame excuses.

  23. chc4 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:44 AM

    Addicted to video games? You’ve got to be kidding me. And Tiger is all healed from his “sex addiction”. What a joke!

    How about we call this what it really is…. complete and total laziness. ADHD and depression are real illnesses. Video game addiction is not. And to claim they are related is utterly ridiculous. But hey… everyone’s gotta have an excuse for their poor behavior, right?

  24. hatesycophants says: Jun 8, 2012 10:47 AM

    Bull crap! There are approximately zero Americans addicted to freaking video games. There may be 4 million tools blaming video games for a lack of focus and discipline, but they aren’t addicted. Good. Lord.

  25. buffaloballs says: Jun 8, 2012 10:49 AM

    If you stick the gun right up against the screen, you can kill the ducks a lot easier and faster. You’re welcome.

  26. phillyphan72 says: Jun 8, 2012 10:53 AM

    I wonder what his K/D was…you play that much it better be good

  27. cdaws84 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:02 AM

    chc4…i think the terminology is wrong. Its not addiction but OCD…which is very much real…and just as weird

  28. peytonsneck18 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:06 AM

    My colts wasted a 3rd round pick on this guy n i remember he just quit after a year, maybe if he had a woman he would had a reason to put the sticks down for a few hours in the day, i bet he has bad vision now for sitting in front Of tv playing games for that many hours

  29. peytonsneck18 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:08 AM

    Play Call of Booty…its a better movie!!!

  30. sportsmeccabi says: Jun 8, 2012 11:10 AM

    I have anger management issues. But they only come out while I play madden.

    LINEBACKERS SHOULD NOT BE ABLE To JUMP 10 FEET IN THE AIR TO PICK OFF A PASS!!!!!!!!!

  31. pioniere says: Jun 8, 2012 11:20 AM

    I wonder what his favorite class setup is? I prefer the M-16 myself…

  32. hound32 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:26 AM

    I have anger management issues. But they only come out while I play madden.

    LINEBACKERS SHOULD NOT BE ABLE To JUMP 10 FEET IN THE AIR TO PICK OFF A PASS!!!!!!!!!

    Ya gots that right .of course EA wont fix it as they have the exclusive rights to it .

    i hope the best for him .

  33. jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:29 AM

    There is no rehab when money is your addiction

  34. kravenm3 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:51 AM

    Not sure about depression but I would not refer to ADHD as an illness. It is not something one can catch like a virus or something. Sounds a bit disrespectful to those who live with it every day. Just sayin’.

  35. trollhammer20 says: Jun 8, 2012 11:54 AM

    I can remember some RPGs that qualify as addicting. You think “OK, I’ll get to the next save point”, then when you get to the next save point it’s “Hey, look, a new area opened up, I’ll just have a quick look around”, then it’s “That guy just gave me a quest to find this really cool sword, I’ll go get that and be done”…..

    Next thing you know you wonder who the hell is turning lights on, and you realize that it’s not your roommate waking up, it’s the morning sun coming through the window.

    I miss the days when I could be that recklessly irresponsible. Oh well, there’s always retirement.

  36. drewsylvania says: Jun 8, 2012 12:12 PM

    There are about four or five people on here who have no clue what the hell a mental illness can do.

  37. drewsylvania says: Jun 8, 2012 12:15 PM

    “Not sure about depression but I would not refer to ADHD as an illness. It is not something one can catch like a virus or something. Sounds a bit disrespectful to those who live with it every day. Just sayin’.”

    There are plenty of illnesses you can’t catch. And if you do research or know anyone with ADHD, untreated it can be a major problem.

  38. breadwinner54 says: Jun 8, 2012 12:37 PM

    I wonder if he wants to join my MW3 clan. Looking for legit players that play over 12 hours a day. We don’t lose! Hahaha lol

  39. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 8, 2012 1:44 PM

    Immersed in Call Of Duty, Quinn was able to ignore the calls of duty.

  40. seahulk9 says: Jun 8, 2012 4:51 PM

    i have muscular dystrophy and adhd….over the course of my adult life ive slowly lost all the strength i had as a youth so excuse me if i sound insensitive to this pro athlete who wanted to sit around depressed playing video games instead of playing football..suck it up strap it on and shut up buddy. you know what causes real depression????not being able to pick up your own children or play catch in the yard with them. this guy is ridiculous

  41. axespray says: Jun 8, 2012 9:50 PM

    I also think GTA IV and Fallout 3 came out that year… then left 4 dead… good lord, that lineup deserves it’s own Wrestling Pay Per View.

  42. pubobby2004 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:38 AM

    what a joke. lump this with the idiots who claim to be addicted to sex. if you can overcome something with self-control and mental determination, it’s not an illness. try beating cancer, or AIDS, or even the common cold with mental toughness. the problem here, and with so many other “disorders” is with an entitled lifestyle. how many kids in Somalia grow up with eating disorders? how many kids in Haiti face debilitating video game disorders? ADD and ADHD is just the latest way of not addressing the real problem in our society. raise your kids to understand patience and perseverance. cell phones, email, drive thru’s, google, all contribute to our “instant gratification” world. if we all had to go back to using pay phones and libraries and cook our own food, we’d all probably be diagnosed with ADHD and depression too.

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