As concussions continue to be a factor in the NFL landscape as the league works on prevention and awareness perhaps the scariest account of concussions and their effects comes from former NFL star Priest Holmes, who spoke with Fox Sports.
“This color obviously isn’t going to be blue. It can be a color that can be orange. It can be red. The sky could turn green,” Holmes told Chris Corbellini. “There’s even an episode where you see a clear light, like light at the end of the tunnel.”
Interestingly enough, he is not one of the 2,000 former players involved in a lawsuit against the NFL for it’s concussion protocols and effects. Maybe he should be.
“As much as I loved it (football), that same love now has put me in situations that I have to live with,” said Holmes, now an analyst for the Longhorn Network. “The frontal headaches, the migraines. Laying in bed, it’s tough to get out mornings just because of the pain that is setting in with an arthritic condition, it’s things like that that you never would have really thought about.”
Priest Holmes, who also played at the University of Texas, once led the NFL in rushing with 1,555 yards while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs despite being undrafted. Eventually he finished his career in Baltimore where he played with Jamal Lewis, who is one of the ex-NFL players involved in the lawsuit.
“The body is just not built to be able to do that,” Holmes said. “I think it truly does have a big effect on players — especially players such as Jamal that have been a 2,000-yard rusher, invincible, helped take us to the Super Bowl (in January 2001), done so many amazing things, and then it results in ‘Why can’t I remember certain things? I can’t remember the exit I need to take when going back to the grocery store.’ ”
Four years with 350 or more carries per season. That, according to Priest Holmes, is the statistical benchmark, when major wear and tear and damage come into play for running backs. He goes on to say long-term health issues can show up before an athlete has even retired.
“Take some time off. You need some rest,” Holmes was told after the 2005 season and a hit from LB Shawn Merriman. “Other than that, there was no treatment. There was nothing they could provide for me,” Holmes recalled. “Was it a lack of research? Or was it just a step that hasn’t been developed by the league?”
“That was just seven years ago, and the league has been around for a lot longer than those seven years.”
But as many NFL players have said they wouldn’t change anything and would do it all over again, Priest Holmes has a different take. Especially if his 3 sons were to consider playing football.
“I always let them know, this isn’t a have-to,” he said. “Believe me, there’s other avenues you can choose in life.”