INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL is not the most popular sport in the country. It’s the most popular “thing” in the whole country. But some former NFL players are wondering if the glory of their playing days came at a cost.
“I think we all have concerns that we’ve done some serious damage,” said former Colt Barry Krauss.
Before Peyton Manning, Barry Krauss was one of the most popular Indianapolis Colts of all time. He played 10 years with the team. All of them with little regard for his body, including his head.
“There were so many times that my eyes jiggled…and you’d just shake it off. I’d play dinged,” said Krauss.
Krauss is one of the former players suing the NFL for allegedly withholding information about the dangers of concussions. He has no idea how many concussions he suffered or even how many times he lost track of where he was after getting hit.
“Totally lost…where I was in the stadium, I was, ‘Where’s the team…who’s on what sideline?’ I went to the wrong huddle, I went to the Green bay Packers huddle and they said, ‘Krauss you’re in the wrong huddle you need to go over there.'”
The NFL has changed rules and tightened protocols for concussions. This week the league reported data from team doctors that says the number of concussions dropped by 13 percent this season. But they remain a huge concern. Just weeks ago in the Colts playoff game against the Chiefs, four starting players were taken out of action with head injuries. Former players say it’s impossible to make playing in the NFL safe.
“I think there’s always going to be concussions and hits…that’s part of the game.”
Despite the growing body of evidence that shows the dangers of concussions, few former players would ever go back and choose not to play. They say if you wonder why, you’ll never understand what it meant to play the most popular game in the country.
“Whatever…it’s just part of it. I loved every bit of it and yes, there’s consequences to it, but if I had a chance, I would go out and play again.”