Retired New York Giants player Tiki Barber on the emotional challenges that could have faced Junior Seau before his death.
Barber says, “You’re shocked because of the sudden nature of the death but you’re not shocked that you see these things happen. There’s a lot of factors that contribute to depression. One is stress, money stress, family stress…. You’re surprised but you’re not surprised because there are so many factors that lead toward athletes falling into deep, deep depressions and not having a way to get out of it.”
He adds, “I went and worked right away over at NBC doing sports and news, and things felt fine. Three years later I’m going through a divorce, I’m no longer working at NBC, I’m sitting on my couch really trying to figure out what my life is going to be, and I started to feel like I was depressed. Very fortunately I had great friends who lifted me up and got me back into the workforce and doing things and finding meaning for myself. But a lot of guys don’t have that.
And the other factors that I talked about are widely documented. So 78 percent of former football players after three or four years are broke, filing for bankruptcy. They go through divorces. They don’t have a steady job.
They are so far behind that professional learning curve because their peers came out of college and walked up the corporate ladder. They played sports. And once they’re done, they’re not celebrities anymore. The relevancy period falls away.”
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Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
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