Players like Kevin Kolb leave our consciousness pretty fast. One year they're playing, the next they're not, and we rarely think about them again.
But Kolb still thinks about football. He has no choice. The lingering symptoms from concussions are with him every waking moment, he said.
In a first-person story on The MMQB, Kolb describes his concussion symptoms, a little more than a year after he played his last game. The former Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills quarterback suffered his last concussion in the preseason of 2013. His first concussion came in 2010, when Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews hit him. He suffered two more in 2012. He didn't even believe his last concussion was serious. It happened on a routine play. That's scary.
"The Redskins defender just ran by me at the end of a routine scramble and caught my helmet with his knee," Kolb wrote in The MMQB. "I went numb from my neck down for about three seconds, but I stayed in the game. I didn’t know what it was or how serious it would turn out to be. It couldn’t be happening again.
"But when I got to the sideline and the adrenaline wore off, I knew. The symptoms came rushing in, the pain, the noise, the queasiness. I had taken every possible step to fend off a concussion—a new helmet, staying in the best shape possible, trying to play smart. None of it mattered."
Because we don't think about guys like Kolb often once they're out of the game, we also don't think much about what the game has done to them. What Kolb outlines in The MMQB is frightening, although he doesn't dwell on any negativity. But he points out that his life is affected every day by the concussions he suffered in the NFL. Kolb said he knows he'll deal with the symptoms the rest of his life. Kolb just turned 30.
"With concussions, sometimes you don’t know what is a symptom and what is not. But some symptoms are impossible to ignore," Kolb wrote. "The ringing is like someone shooting a shotgun right next to my ear, every second of every day. It doesn’t go away.
"The sensitivity to light also has a profound impact. I’ll be in a business meeting indoors and have to politely ask to put on my sunglasses before the headaches and double vision start."
Kolb goes into more detail in the story about his concussions, symptoms and how he can lessen them. Kolb had enough cachet as a former starting quarterback that his story, which included his experience being in Hurricane Odile in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in September, was featured on a major site. But there are plenty of former players who suffered concussions, are probably dealing with similar terrible circumstances, and we don't hear about or consider them.
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