Former Ravens running back shares what it’s really like living with permanent brain trauma
For many former professional football players, the question surrounding their future isn’t if chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) will affect their lives. The question is when it will start destroying their memory, make them quicker to lose their temper, and when the suicidal thoughts will begin.
At just 38 years old, former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis already suspects he may be living with CTE related to his decades playing football. At the very least, he is already living with the post-traumatic effects of concussions.
Just eight years after he retired from the sport, Lewis is already showing many of the tell-tale signs of CTE. He will forget where he’s going as he drives.
It’s a normal thing,” he says. “Like, Where am I at?”
His anger will spike suddenly and without warning.
Throbbing headaches are a common occurrence.
His sensitivity to light means he must keep sunglasses with him at all times.
And, like many former NFL players, Lewis admits he has considered suicide.
“You think about death,” Jamal said recently “I’ve thought about suicide. I’ve thought about ending it all.”
Perhaps the one thing that sets Lewis apart from the many former football players that live with these dark thoughts and never-ending symptoms is his willingness to talk about it. While most avoid the topic, Lewis isn’t afraid to share how concussions have affected his life in his own words.