George Visger: Courageous Advocate and Wild Guy
Here at NeuroNotes, we’ve known George for years. He has contributed to our blog, and we keep up with his tireless advocacy work on behalf of individuals with brain injury. We are always excited to have our paths cross at conferences. George’s willingness to meet and talk with survivors of brain injury continually shows his boundless kindness.
Like George, we struggle to understand how, after experiencing nine brain injuries during his two years playing for the San Francisco 49ers, he fails to qualify for benefits under the current NFL settlement. In a recent interview, George had an interesting point about the way the NFL acts as if the concussion and brain injury information is something the organization only recently learned. George explained,
“If I had been a boxer in the 1960s and was knocked unconscious in a ring—like I’d been in that Dallas game—I would not have been able to box for a couple months. In the NFL, I was back in the same game and also played the rest of that rookie season.
Think about it, way back then if a professional boxer was knocked unconscious he wasn’t out there sparring the next day like we were in the NFL. It’s B.S. that they claim they didn’t know until later.
I mean I’m brain damaged and even I know that a concussion is a brain injury. If I had a bad ankle I wouldn’t have played on it. Why was it OK to make us play with an injured brain?”
When George isn’t meeting with members of Congress, speaking at conferences, or working to raise money for brain injury survivors and their families, he enjoys the outdoors. He received his Biology degree in 1986, and has worked as a wildlife biologist and environmental consultant. George currently writes a column, “Ask the Wild Guy,” for the Wilderness Unlimited quarterly magazine.
We just adore George for being such a courageous advocate and all around “wild guy.”