Tags: Steve Malzberg Show | NFL | concussions | Utecht

Ex-NFL Tight End: Brain Health Should Be League's Top Priority

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 04:34 PM

Ben Utecht — the former tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts who suffers memory loss from five concussions during his NFL career — says the game must change to protect players.

"People have to put brain health as priority number one," the 6-foot-6, 245-pound ex-gridiron star said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"We need to connect athletes to neurologists … the brain experts, and we're not doing that.

"In my six years in the NFL, I never once saw a neurologist, believe it or not, even though I had five documented concussions."

He said that football programs for young people must also be made less violent.

"We need to institute a non-contact, high-level league for youth sports to save our children during the most developmental stages of their brain," said Utecht, who played pro ball from 2004-2009.

He recalled the devastating moment when he knew his memory had faltered.

"My wife and I had a good friend of ours talking about wedding memories and I [said to] my friend Matt, 'You know I wasn't able to be at your wedding,' " he said.

"He kind of looked at me funny and I said, 'No seriously, why wasn't I able to be there?' And his wife got their wedding photo album … and, page after page, there I was as a groomsman in the wedding, I sang in his wedding.

"We all kind of sat there at the table just in awkward silence. I have no memory of that event. That's one of a couple handfuls of gaps that are just no longer a part of my past."

One in four National Football League players are likely to suffer from  dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or other impairments, according to a report filed in court by the league's lawyers.

Utecht, who helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI, is now a singer and songwriter and has released several albums, including "Christmas Hope."

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Ben Utecht — the former tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts who suffers memory loss from five concussions during his NFL career — says the game must change to protect players.
NFL, concussions, Utecht
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2014-34-01
Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 04:34 PM
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