By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fred Barnett played for the Philadelphia Eagles until 1995, and retired from the NFL in 1997. 15 years later, he’s still feeling the effects of playing professional football.
“One thing that I’ve been experiencing is headaches, every other day,” Barnett told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow. “It’s just a headache, that no matter what you take, it doesn’t go away. For me to experience that and for me to see that, it’s very scary,” he said.
Barnett is one of over 1,000 former players that is currently suing the NFL, claiming that the league did not do enough to protect its players from concussions.
Though there has been no proven connection, many have wondered if Junior Seau’s suicide was somehow related to playing in the NFL. “I feel if you would’ve gone to Junior Seau two weeks before he [committed suicide] and told him this was going to happen he probably would have laughed at you. So my thing is to what extent, or to what level was he at to be able to make that decision? And I say to myself, will I one day be at that level,” Barnett said. “This is real. There have been times when I’m walking down the street, and everything that’s supposed to be steel starts to move. So for me to lose that control, it’s very, very scary. And it’s very, very real to me.”
“I’m not stressed about anything, I eat right, I exercise. And for me to experience the certain things that I experience, it’s really scary. What if 15-20 years from now this just gets worse, and worse, and worse? And just seeing the players, who are 15-20 years older than I am, expeiencing this at another level,” Barnett said.
“I think players will have and understand choices, and understand what the dynamics are,” Barnett said of players who are deciding to play football now. “I have one a year-old son. And no way, no how, will I push him to play football. Because of what I’ve experienced and what I’m experiencing.
At this point we just want to live a normal life,” Barnett said. “I think it’s really unfortunate for the NFL because at some point, you’re going to have to try and figure this thing out,” he said.