After suffering from dementia, ex-Packer Mike McCoy dies at 62

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Former Packers cornerback Mike McCoy, who was diagnosed with dementia in his 50s, has died in the assisted living facility he called home for four years. He was 62.

Last year, McCoy and his wife spoke publicly about his cognitive problems. He said he still remembered his playing career but struggled with short-term memory.

“Sometimes I can’t remember what I had for breakfast or dinner, but I can remember Packers stuff from 40 years ago,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year. “The brain is sure weird. I’m functional, but I can’t drive. I’ve had like three seizures over the last couple years and so I gave up my car. Janet wanted me to do it, to be safe at home, you know. It’s really hard to give up your car keys, your independence. But I thank the man upstairs, because I have great family around me and I’m very thankful for that. Some players kept it inside and committed suicide. You need your family and friends around you and you have to talk them. Janet helps me, but she also helps other NFL players and families who are going through this. It’s not easy.”

McCoy was the Packers’ third-round draft pick in 1976 and played for the Packers until 1983.

30 responses to “After suffering from dementia, ex-Packer Mike McCoy dies at 62

  1. This scenario is going to continue because of the nature of the game of Football.But…even though millions of dollars are to be earned that would not be payed to a person in any other vocation out of College or High School,I think the player well is going to eventually run dry and football, as we now know it, well cease to exist.Look at the mumber of High School and College football Programs that have been axed over the last three years.It does not take a statistician to crunch the numbers, to tell us that we are in trouble ……football fans. !!!

  2. This is serious stuff. No one should risk their life to play a game.

    When you find someone being forced to do that, be sure to alert us.

  3. Man that’s unfortunate. Football is a sport that many enjoy to play. It’s unfortunate that the risks are THAT bad.

  4. Really sad story here. So tough on the family and the individual. It’s impossible for most of us to grasp the mental anguish that he must have felt as he saw his “self” slipping away. What a humiliating, disheartening way to go. Sounds like he had a loving family around him at the end, which is all each of us can really hope for, I suppose.
    Because of the extremely public nature of the league, it’s hard not to think that the clock is ticking when we hear stories like this. But there’s a whole lot of money changing hands, and the powers that be never let a well like that dry up if they can help it. And of course the people with all the money have all the power. So I’m not so convinced we’re hearing the death knell of the NFL. Changes in the name of “player safety” will continue. Sacrificial lambs will be brought to pay for sins of the league (how long until God-dell gets the axe?). But the money will continue to flow.
    Consider the sacrifices people in other professions make to do their jobs. How many people were killed in the past year building stadiums and arenas for pro sports teams? We know high stress jobs, working off shifts, etc. have very real, life-shortening effects, but no one would ever suggest doing away with those myriad jobs/industries. The Hollywood based entertainment industry (a good comparison to the NFL entertainment machine) destroys lives in countless ways, but the money keeps flowing. In fact it only flows faster and deeper all the time.
    Rigged capitalism is what rules in this country. Not democracy, not republicanism. Certainly not some sense of morality and high values that regards humanity above all else.
    The NFL is, in some sense, a mirror of our society. The picture may be bleak, even ugly. But lord knows we love it all the same.
    And the masters love their money, so the show must go on.

  5. While I sympathize for his family’s loss, players are paid a lot of money. Every job has risks. You have coal miners with black lung disease , steel workers with their own issues. I work in the elevator business and we have knee & back issues. Most blue collar guys wish they were paid millions to do their jobs. Everyone knows the risks.

  6. Yes, it’s a sad story.

    Helmets are better now. People don’t play with concussions like they used to. I remember when the 85 Bears were playing the Super Bowl. They showed the Patriots QB on the sidelines looking like he didn’t know what planet he was on.

  7. Much like other “heros” and super stars, you make a fine living doing what you do.

    They choice is yours. Just like a police officer, fire fighter or soldier. You weren’t drafted and forced to do it. you get paid to do it and it’s your choice.

    Many of us wish to be that lucky.

  8. Roger Goodell and the NFL may not like what Dr. Bennet Omalu has to say about concussions, but when the brain rattles around inside the skull, it’s a matter of life and death.

  9. Yeah, a lot of money — McCoy’s salary in the early 80’s probably topped out a $50K. These guys had to pull an in-season strike just to get the owner’s to throw a few extra dollars their way.

    Look at the helmets they’re wearing in that picture…….might as well be a knit ski cap.

  10. .
    Not to worry, Roger Goodell is looking into the relationship between head trauma and early onset dementia. Ted Wells and scientific think tank, Exponent, are assisting Goodell in getting to the truth because the integrity of the game is on the line.
    .

  11. That this is treated as just another event of the day in the NFL universe shows how little everyone is still taking this issue. We have a professional sport that is killing people. Yes, conditions are better today, but anyone who doesn’t think that the future of the NFL – and football in general – is in big, BIG trouble is simply in denial.

  12. Sorry to hear this……He was only half a dozen years my Senior and that just is way to young…….

    The changes to the rules may help those playing now, but back in the day the guys used to hit and get hit in the head very hard without being able to recover properly. Every time we start to complain about the way the game is played today, it might be good to remember guys like Mike McCoy.

    RIP

  13. Listen this is sad, gone at such a young age, but my mother suffered from dementia for over 15 years before passing and she never played a down of football in her life.

  14. It is sad to hear things like this, but people who did not play football die from early onset dementia in there 20’s to 50’s every day.

  15. One of the players I remember from my youth. Sad to see him die so young, I wonder if his brain will be studied. Nice to see a couple notorious Viking posters put in positive comments, I give them respect for that.
    Thank you Gentleman.

  16. vetdana says:
    Feb 23, 2016 6:54 PM
    This scenario is going to continue because of the nature of the game of Football.But…even though millions of dollars are to be earned that would not be payed to a person in any other vocation out of College or High School,I think the player well is going to eventually run dry and football, as we now know it, well cease to exist.Look at the mumber of High School and College football Programs that have been axed over the last three years.It does not take a statistician to crunch the numbers, to tell us that we are in trouble ……football fans. !!!
    _____________

    Football will be around, Unfortunately there will always be people with tough upbrinings. Football can be an escape and a way for them to provide for generations with right choice. While I do think it will it will be different in a sense of players retiring younger, and being smarter about the concussions.

    While football players are paid a lot, he was right on the cusp before players got paid 100K… especially when you take into consideration how the average career is 3 years. I understand why people are concerned, but this isn’t like tobaccoo companies that are unhealthy and have Zero benefits.

  17. More people die in car accidents. Should we stop driving?

    If you are complaining about the NFL and head injuries, stop watching and paying to see the games. You help feed the problem.

    I am glad that he was thankful to GOD and for his family. He is in a better place now.

  18. crownofthehelmet says:
    Feb 23, 2016 7:58 PM

    Way too young. Sympathy’s from this steeler fan.
    ……………………………………………………………………..

    agreed, as a packer fan living a few miles from the birthplace of your Mike Webster, these are sad stories. one hopes that the sport evolves so our sport heroes of today don’t have to spend their last years as Webster and McCoy. there are solutions out there and even though it doesn’t seem to be moving quick enough, rule changes and technology SHOULD make this a game our children and grandchildren will enjoy watching

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