Speaking out on an issue that plagues the NFL, former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar says numerous concussions he had during his pro career have led to a brain trauma that continues to affect various aspects of his life, including his speech at times.
The 49-year-old Kosar said the concussion issue is something he has to talk about as tries to help other ex-players who are suffering and have lost hope from brain trauma and concussions.
In a Thursday interview with Cleveland's ABC affiliate, Kosar recalled carrying smelling salts with him at all times when he played and that through the course of his career he had suffered more than a dozen concussions.
Accompanied by his doctor, Rick Sponaugle, Kosar complained of still hearing buzzing and ringing sounds among other symptoms due to his head trauma. However, Kosar doesn't have short-term or long-term memory loss which is often experienced by others who have suffered multiple concussions over an extended period of time.
followed a Twitter posting by Kosar on Wednesday.
"Wow watching Outside The Lines on ESPN about Jr Seau,Jim McMahon,Dave Duerson!the Effects of Concussions! It's what I Have to Talk about," Kosar tweeted. "I also have to start helping X players&people who R suffering&lost hope with Bleeding,brain trauma&concussions!there is HOPE."
Kosar said he began a series of daily, two-hour treatments with Sponaugle two weeks ago and has already experienced an improvement in his speech.
"I really thought it was like a gift from God, you know, to be able to find this and feel like this and to, and um, really to see the brain trauma and the concussions and all these symptoms basically just going away," said Kosar.
According to Sponaugle, the "ground-breaking" treatment involves reversing brain injuries by reversing blood flow in the victim's brain.
He compared the former quarterback's brain with that of a car accident victim.
"The difference is that the car accident is a one-time deal, with the head through a windshield," Sponaugle said. "Bernie had a head through the windshield every Sunday."
Kosar said he plans to begin a "Bernie Kosar Foundation" to help other current and former NFL players who have suffered head trauma during their careers.
The issue of head trauma among pro athletes, particularly in the NFL, has received a great deal of attention in recent years. In July 2012, 2,000 former football players sued the league in federal court claiming "the NFL turned a blind eye to the risk and failed to warn and/or impose safety regulations governing this well-recognized health and safety problem."
Last September, $30 million was donated by the NFL to the National Institutes of Health to further their research into better understanding brain injuries.
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