Category Archives: men’s health

New web series explores links between concussions and brain damage in former football players

I’ve always loved watching pro football. I grew up in Miami, and came of age when the Dolphins had their perfect season in 1972, winning the Super Bowl that year and the next year as well. One of my fondest memories as a kid was going to Super Bowl 10, which was played in Miami. The Dolphins weren’t in that one, but the Pittsburgh Steelers were. My Cousin Bobby, who lived in Pittsburgh, got tickets for me and my grandfather. Memories like this stay with a kid forever.

I still love watching pro football. But, as stories about the pervasiveness of concussions and their lasting impact become more prevalent, I’ll admit that I’m in a bit of a moral quandary. For far too long, the NFL played down the seriousness of concussions. Now, as more and more players come forward with horror stories about mood swings and addictions, the NFL can’t look away any more. This new GQ web series tells the stories of a few of these former players, and the measures being taken to help them. Personally, I think the NFL needs to do even more. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.


How the New England Patriots are helping me cope

I’m really glad that the New England Patriots are on a winning streak–for more than the obvious reasons.

I’ve been a pro football fan all my life. And when the Pats beat the Jets last week for their third straight win, I actually thought to myself, “If I do something crazy to myself, I won’t get to find out if the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl.” That’s right — the Patriots are keeping me from attempting suicide.

Let me be clear–there’s a difference between thinking about suicide and actually having a plan for it. It’s actually common for people with depression to think about suicide often. It’s also common to be embarrassed to admit that. But I want to rid myself of shame and embarrassment. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. So yes, I think about suicide often. But I am not suicidal. I do not have a plan. Fortunately, there are many reasons for this. And one of them is that if the Patriots make it to the Super Bowl, I want to be around to see it.

No matter how I feel before the game, the Patriots make me euphoric when they win. Same thing with the Red Sox. (Yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, I live in Boston.) The year I moved here was the year that the Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. I will never forget the shear, unbridled joy that swept through this city. And I will never forget being a part of it.

When I’m in a deep funk, I tend to forget that I can and have experienced joy in my life. Many times. I’m grateful that I thought about that when I watched my Pats last week. They are one more tool in my “mind trick” arsenal. When my depression tries to tell me that there’s nothing worth living for, I can fire back: “You LIE, you big black dog, you. There are SO MANY things to live for.”┬áLike watching Tom Brady and the boys. Look out, Chicago Bears. You’re next!


Suicide rates rising among middle-aged men

Yesterday, NPR ran a story about the rising rate of suicide among middle-aged men. Robin Williams was a middle-aged man, and I have a feeling that’s why they thought this was something worth running.

I can’t say that these statistics surprise me. We still live in a society where many men find it difficult to ask for help. I am starting to see more men in the support groups that I attend, but this has only started recently. I agree with the idea that there needs to be more outreach specifically targeted toward men. As it is, we are losing too many friends, husbands, fathers, grandfathers, and uncles.

Read or listen to the NPR story here.


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