Leroy Hoard suffering from memory loss, depression

Former Brown Leroy Hoard is one of many former NFL players suffering from the punishment his body took during his ten years in the league. Hoard suffers from memory loss and depression. In a recent interview with ESPN’s outside the lines, he admits he isn’t sure why he is any different from the players like Junior Seau who took their own life.

Hoard admits to sitting alone in the bathroom with the door closed and lights off in order to escape from all noise, light and interaction that gives him terrible headaches. Sometimes he sits there for 3 hours at a time. When asked how he was feeling right there in the interview, a red eyed Hoard answered-

“My legs are both numb. I can’t feel my toes. I can’t feel this arm, and I’m getting a headache from these damn lights. Other than that, I feel great. (Sarcasm.)”

The video is a must watch.

In the video Hoard, a Wolverine, admits that there are two good friends that help keep him going. Ironically, they are former Buckeye running backs Robert Smith and Keith Byars.

Leroy’s wife Melanie laments the day when she “transitions from wife to caregiver”. Which she fears is coming sooner than later.

[Related: Art Modell’s Hall of Fame bid shouldn’t pit Baltimore against Cleveland]

  • http://twitter.com/Air_Asian Yoshi

    So sad..

  • C-Bus Kevin

    It’ll be high school and junior high football that goes first. Too much liability there. Most likely, it will result in the AAU-ization of high school football. This will probably happen in the next 10 to 15 years…once the evidence becomes overwhelming.

    Pro football will remain relatively unchanged. College football will probably disassociate from the NCAA so that they can pay the players just enough to claim that they are not taking advantage of them.

    Changes are coming…sooner than later.

  • Steve

    Have to imagine it’s only a matter of time before the NFL makes big changes or fades away. Too many of these guys are taking too much punishment just to amuse our gladiatoresque whims. Parents are, and should be, pulling their kids out of youth leagues, and as soon as high schools and colleges start feeling some of the heat directed at the NFL, they’ll drop football in a heartbeat. Few, if any, will be able to deal with any of the legal issues, if they even want to. The feeder system will dry up quickly, much like boxing in this country.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    And for the record…I’m a huge hypocrit. I love LOVE the Browns, but I will not let my son play football.

  • Steve

    I can see the AAU-ization, but not the rest. Few college programs actually make a profit off football without being able to pay their players. And if a bunch of college programs go away, there’s just no way that pro football can remain unchanged without one of the best feeder systems they could think up. The NFL doesn’t have to pay a dime, and the future pros are already stars, and don’t need much extra PR, by the time they are drafted.

  • Porckchop

    Since we won our last title right before the Superbowl era Im predicting our next one comes in the last year of NFL existence 2’years after anyone still cares about it. Kinda like The Last Boy Scout

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I can see college football being limited to the biggest schools and nobody else. That’s where the whole super conference thing is headed, right?

    I don’t see college or pro football going anywhere anytime soon. I just mostly think high school football is doomed for a number of reasons…not enough medical personell to monitor practice/games, outdated equipment, too much hitting at practice, liability issues and insurance costs, etc.

  • Steve

    Even if the top 64 or whatever teams can break off from the NCAA, I’m not sure enough of them will take the risk of all the problems you mentioned. Penn St, one of the few schools making a legit profit, took an almost death penalty because they were willing to do anything they can to keep their issue out of the courts. Even they won’t want any part of potential CTE lawsuits.

  • Eric

    Welcome to the real world Hoard. At least you weren’t getting paid $10 an hour like me to have a sh!++y life. Funny how you don’t hear about MMA fighters complaining about health problems. They are happy to collect that check.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I have some wide ranging thoughts on this whole issue:

    1) I know it sounds like a cop out at times, but these men choose to play, knowing that they could be seriously injured at any time. They have seen it happen before, yet they continue. I can only assume that they think the rewards outweigh the risks. One question I have not heard asked of these men is “If you had it to do all over again, knowing what you know now, would you play or walk away from the fame and fortune of the NFL?” Maybe it has been asked, but I haven’t seen it.

    2) Dangerous jobs are everywhere. People do them anyway. I don’t see people calling out for the cancellation of “The Deadliest Catch”. The men who get on those crab fishing boats know what they are getting themselves into, and they apparently think the pay is worth the risk of dying or getting maimed by fishing gear. Farmers die and are seriously injured every day in this country by the equipment required for them to do their jobs. Same thing for coal miners, construction workers, loggers, and other high risk jobs. I don’t see a notional movement underfoot to radically change or outlaw those careers. Sure, changes have been made to make those jobs safer, but the NFL has made changes as well. Is there really that big of a difference?

    3) I view high school and youth football a little differently than college or NFL. The players are not as fast or strong, and the collisions are not as violent (generally speaking). 95%+ of kids won’t play past high school, and I don’t think anyone is worried about what might happen down the road if we got a concussion or two in High School. It’s the repeated, increasingly violent impacts that impact the college and NFL players that seems to be the real concern.

    3a) It has also been my experience that youth and high school players are using better tackling form than the higher levels, who seem hellbent on delivering the “big hit”. The NFL has a huge problem with players leading with their heads and launching themselves into other players, rather than breaking down, keeping their heads up, and wrapping with their arms like you’re supposed to. (I’m looking at you, James Harrison). Really making an emphasis on proper tackling would make a huge difference.

    4) If we’re going to demonize football for head trauma, we better be looking at hockey and soccer as well. Hockey has plenty of violent impacts and head trauma, and I recently read a news article that claimed that “heading” a soccer ball can cause brain injury as well.

    I don’t think the NFL is destined to fade into the dustbin of history like some do, as long as they are willing to take a good hard look in the mirror and make the changes necessary to keep the players safer while still providing an entertaining product.

  • WFNY_DP

    I saw this piece on Sunday, and it just breaks my heart. Two kids watching their father slip into this never-ending hole of depression and memory loss, a wife watching her husband slowly change into someone else knowing that she will be responsible for caring for him, and a guy who’s so clearly intelligent facing the reality that someday he’s probably not going to be able to remember a great deal of the minutiae of his daily life.

    The part of the piece in which he carries a notepad around to remind him to do simple things like pay his rent or his electric bill was crushing. The one beautiful thing from the piece was that each time he opens a new notebook, he writes:
    “Andre Waters
    Dave Duerson
    Junior Seau”

    to remind himself that it could be worse, and he said that keeps him from ever getting to the point of suicide like those three did.

    Just a completely gut-wrenching piece.

  • WFNY_DP

    Are you insinuating that you get paid $10 an hour to take shots to the head?

  • WFNY_DP

    The NHL at least took a real step toward making sure that players suffering a concussion aren’t allowed back into a game when they shouldn’t be.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=556289

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Addendum: Let us also not forget that last year, more of our troops committed suicide than were killed in combat. Yet this barely makes the headlines. I don’t add this to sound callous toward the plight of guys like Leroy Hoard. His problems, and those of many other retired NFL players are real, no doubt. I add it to make the case that it appears that we as a society are being a bit selective about our concern.

  • MrCleaveland

    A real shame. I know some guys who knew Leroy when he was here, and they always said that he was a very nice person.

  • SDA

    Its is a serious catch 22 going on here. On the one hand as we grow older we regret decisions made as young men and women. On the other hand the enticement of money seems to override everything in our society now. He chose to play but did he “really” know the risks? And how much blame can be put on me the consumer. If I wasn’t buying the product they wouldn’t be making the kind of cash that entices people to risk their health. I am very torn over the whole situation.

  • REEPJP

    I read this article last night and was waiting to reply until this morning. Thanks to you, you made many of the same points I was planning and I don’t have to write as much!

    I have a 3 month old son, played and loved football in High School and watch every weekend throughout the fall. I’m fairly certain that when my son asks to play football down the road your points in #3 will be the reason we most likely oblige.

    I think if anything, its not that we’ll see the entire sport fade away, but players will make more informed decisions, understand the risks they’re taking, possibly retire earlier, and hopefully some type of early detection/testing will be developed for the brain/head injuries so an athlete knows its time to hang up their cleats. This obviously won’t help some of the physical pain Leroy is experiencing, but would hopefully help the mental side of things.

    This just popped into my head when thinking about Pee Wee football and it’s probably a dumb idea, but how about adding positional weight restrictions like they do for the little guys to reduce the chance someone gets hurt?

  • runcordes

    Agreed. I hope that he and his family can enjoy their time together and Leroy can find some form of relief. I enjoyed watching him play and didn’t expect this type of fallout from these players from the recent past.

  • Harv 21

    Just want to address the frequent comment that players have known the game is dangerous but assumed the risks of these problems. That may be true of players’ choices beginning in about 2012 but not so easy to say about players already affected.

    The focus of the suit filed by multiple NFL players against the league is that the NFL knew for years about the link between head trauma and these devastating, long-term neurological problems, but chose to hide that knowledge from the players, essentially preventing players from making an informed choice. It also alleges that the NFL did not implement policies to protect players from these devastating problems despite that knowledge.

    If true (and some of the stuff I’ve read looks pretty damning), if the league indeed hid or downplayed what it knew in order to keep selling a supposedly wholesome gladiator product featuring cartoon violence with no accompanying real-life horrors, that negates the common sentiment that “players knew the risks, so screw ‘em.” Twenty years ago you knew the risks of black lung when you chose the coalmines, or the risk of digit amputation if you worked on a punch press without hand guards, or knee problems if you laid carpet all day. Not so easy to claim players should have known about long-term and severe neurological problems when the league was sitting on and denying what it knew.

  • MrCleaveland

    Two points:

    1. Part of the problem is the players themselves. It’s not enough to just tackle someone, you have to punish him and make him cry for his mama. Coaches have taught this for a long time, and players buy into it because they win publicity, respect, and/or fear from being known as a savage hitter. That dirtbag James Harrison isn’t respected, but he is feared. I’m guessing he’s okay with that.

    2. Helmets that were designed for protection have become weapons. That hard hat provides a false sense of security. I don’t know what it might be, but there’s got to be a better way of making helmets. Maybe make them softer (i.e., leatherheads) or put more padding with give in them.

  • gct

    Wow, how unnecessarily callous and resentful.

  • OR PICK A NAME

    As much as I love football, it makes me sick when I think about players whose post-football lives are a mess because of the game. The comment a few weeks ago by Bernie’s doctor (“Bernie, in effect, put his head through the windshield every Sunday”) really resonated. No one needs to put his head through a windshield every Sunday for my entertainment. Likewise, no one should feel compelled to ravage his body with PEDs on my behalf.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I played High School football as well and have a 2 year old son. I taught High School for 9 years and officiated football for a couple more. I am WAY more concerned about my son being injured (or worse) in a car accident screwing around with his future friends than I am of something catastrophic happening on the football field. If he wants to play football when he gets older, his mother and I will advise him of the risks, but I have no intention of stopping him from playing if he really wants to.

  • SDA

    said how I feel much better than I

  • mgbode

    just noting it’s not the catastrophic effects of the football field, but the effects that add up over time.

  • mgbode

    agree with both points.

    the issue with #1 is how do you separate league responsibility to protect with player responsibility? it is a ridiculously complex issue.

    it’s not only that helmets are used as weapons but that players refuse to use them for safety. a helmet without a mouthguard (both properly fitted) is almost meaningless. watch the Superbowl and pay attention to how many players have chinstraps dangling or are without mouthguards. these were automatic flags in HS-football yet the NFL allows it to happen (that one is on the league IMO).

  • mgbode

    You and me both. My sons play flag football. They want to play tackle, but that’s not happening while they are young. I have 6 years before I’ll have to revisit the issue (8th grade). I honestly don’t know what my answer will be.

    That said, they play sports year-round and the only time they have had any type of head injury was in baseball (my son got hit in the forehead with a line-drive when he was a pitcher – thank god it was a youth baseball that has ‘give’).

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Fair point. If it is eventually determined that High School football players are experiencing the same kind of long term symptoms and problems as the NFL and college players, I will certainly re-evaluate my stance.

    As it is now, every sport carries concussion/head trauma risks, some higher than others. I guess we have to weigh the pros and cons of letting kids play sports vs. the pros and cons of having kids “live in a protective bubble” and not experience anything that might be risky, even though they enjoy it and could benefit from it.

  • Steve

    “I don’t think anyone is worried about what might happen down the road
    if we got a concussion or two in High School. It’s the repeated,
    increasingly violent impacts that impact the college and NFL players”

    This, simply, is based on being uninformed, sorry. Sure, the increasingly violent hits are awful, but even the “small” collisions, say between each set of lines on every single play, that is just as bad. Sure, they, individually, don’t cause concussions, but they build up over time and lead to permanent brain injuries. And if you don’t think people are worried about a high schooler getting even one concussion, I hope and pray you aren’t coaching any teams.

  • Steve

    I think people have been aware of the plight of our troops returning home for a while now, and there are groups working on helping them out. Up until very recently, we just discarded any former players to the side when we’re done with them. They’ve been treated like cattle. Hell yes do they deserve some spotlight.

  • Harv 21

    that’s exactly right. The latest studies are showing significant problems in the brains of linemen who suffer repeated lesser trauma, and rarely get hammered with a flying head shot by a linebacker with a running start, as happened to MoMass and Colt and Cribbs. It’s not about concussions alone, it’s about cumulative brain trauma.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    “I don’t add this to sound callous toward the plight of guys like Leroy
    Hoard. His problems, and those of many other retired NFL players are
    real, no doubt.”

    It’s a problem. It deserves some attention. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t have said this. I’m simply reminding everyone that there are other people in this world with similar (in some cases much worse) problems and a lower profile that we shouldn’t forget about either. That’s all. No need to pick a fight here.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Poorly worded, I’ll admit. Obviously people are concerned about concussions at the high school level…as they should be. All I’m saying is that the damage seems to be more severe in those who have made a career out of playing football for decades, not just for a few years in Jr. high/high school. There are millions of adult males walking around right now with little to no lasting damage from having played high school football…(at least that’s what we think). Perhaps we should be studying the brains of every single guy who has ever played football at any level? Maybe more research will conclude that the depression and suicides of a lot more people can be tied back to brain damage from high school football.

    There is no such thing as a benign concussion. Trust me, I understand that. I officiated at the JV/Varsity level for a couple years, and we were thoroughly instructed in concussion protocol.

  • Steve

    Definitely agree that more research wouldn’t hurt. The damage seems more severe because those are the people in front of the media and it’s blatantly obvious what has been the cause of the problems. Not because there is a breaking point that NFL hits have over college and high school hits.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I recommend you see the documentary “Head Games”. The doctors quoted in that film state that everytime a player sees a flash, stars, a change in color in their vision, etc….that is a concussion. I didn’t play football on any level, but I’m willing to bet that many people reading this site can look back and think of many times when they experienced these symptoms and didn’t even take a play off.

    The biggest problem in JH/HS is that the players hit in practice nearly everyday. That’s more collisions than the pros experience in a season.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    i think the problem with the “we have to let them take some risks” argument is that, unlike some sports, there is no way to play football safely without head trauma. There just isn’t.

  • Eric

    I agree. My statement is a bit out of line. I truly wish nothing but the best for this man and the trauma he is suffering. Truly. My issue is the sensationalism this topic is getting in the media. I think of our troops and city police officers who’s lives are on the line every hour of the day. In my opinion its like this…. A city cop gets paid $55K annually, and can be killed at any moment trying to protect society from crime (protecting us). A football player gets paid $300,000 +++ to play football. One puts their life on the line for me and gets paid nothing. The other gets rich and lives in a mansion for playing a sport. So should I feel sorry for someone who chooses to enter a $$$$ profession for personal gain, or should I not. Personally I really do care for this mans well being. But if I analyze it in regards to life in general, I feel other issues are far more important that don’t center on self gain. Not regarding Hoard, but for a player to act like its a shock when they suffer long term injuries, is like Michael Phelps complaining about getting wet. If players are truly concerned about this new evidence showcasing that getting hit and tackled is bad for your health, then there should be hundreds of NFL players quitting the game for safety reasons next season. Police officers don’t complain how unfair it is when an officer goes down, unfortunately, they know its a risk associated with the job.

  • Eric

    I do wish him the best and hope for his family all the best as well. He is dealing with health issues that are obviously very painful.

  • Droopiii

    Leroy Hoard suffering from memory loss

    they all due, when they can’t remember what they did with all that money

    they were paid to play a game called football.

    in 9 years in the NFL Career statistics Rushing Yards 3,964 Average 3.9

    Adrian Peterson got half of that in one year

  • Droopiii

    It’s your choice what you want to do with your life, but you need to love what you

    do in order to be good at it. It’s not always the money why people love to play

    football. Do you think Peyton Manning return for the love of money

    or for the love of the game? They love to play and we love to watch.

    I bet most people that come crying about the game of football have never played

    the game or weren’t good enough to play.If you don’t like to see someone get hit

    don’t watch the game, but don’t complain to 179.1 million – Approximate number of people expected to watch the Super Bowl XLVII

  • lee

    take the face mask off the helmet and put a pad on top of the helmet.
    folks wont want their faces rearrainged nor will they want to give someone the Pillow affect and make it a 4 game suspension if you use your head to tackle, no appeals