Leroy Hoard and what continued collisions to the head can do

Submitted by Nosce Te Ipsum on January 27th, 2013 at 3:10 PM



We've had the discussions about the dangers of playing football so I won't rehash. More former players need to come forward and if they did i'm sure it would reveal the fact that this is more of a problem then most people believe.



January 27th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

I wonder how many other Wolverines are in the same situation who we haven't heard about. I have the feeling that football is going to be a very different game 25 years from now.


January 27th, 2013 at 3:21 PM ^

I have warm memories of him dominating down the stretch to win the 1989 Rose Bowl for Michigan ........


but it's hard to reconcile that with a guy who's still only 44 (!!) years young and whose wife is saying "sooner rather than later, I'll be his caretaker instead of his wife."  Because football's part of why that's so.  Ugh.


January 27th, 2013 at 3:27 PM ^

that researchers at U of M Hospital would invite warriors like Leroy back to A2 for participation in research and to receive treatment.. I'm sure there might even be a radio show for him to participate in.

Section 1

January 27th, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

I'd like to know what differences your researchers might see, between guys who played college football only, and guys who played 10-year NFL careers like Leroy Hoard.

I'm sorry for his joint pain and peripheral neuropathy, but I feel certain that those things are unrelated to head trauma.

I have grave doubts that anybody should be playing NFL football.  But at the same time, I also question whether there is an epidemic of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in collegiate and high school football.  I'd like to see some high-quality epidemiology done on that subject.  My own suspicion is that long careers in the NFL pose a bad risk.  And that lower-level football (with modern concussion protocols in place) is a far, far lower level of risk.

I confess that I am very much bothered by the possibility that the depredations of the National Football League will screw things up for the rest of football.

French West Indian

January 28th, 2013 at 8:28 AM ^

...the article handy to cite, but there was news of a college player who died a year or two ago (suicide?) and he had already quite a bit of the brain damage despite only being about 21 years old. It was considered something of a watershed case because it clearly indicated that the brain issues were affecting players much younger than expected. 

As I read more about this stuff, I'm really beginning to feel that maybe it's time to put an end to football.  Sorry, but it just feels like the party is over.

Sac Fly

January 27th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

I was listening to ESPN Radio when the head injuries first started to be brought to light.

I think it was Mike Golic and he was talking about how he'll get a burger and a beer from his kitchen and when he sits down and takes a drink he's got the sandwich, and the beer is in the microwave.

He said that it scares the life out of you knowing this damage has occured but you can't do anything about, there's no way to fix it.


January 27th, 2013 at 4:57 PM ^

of a former Michigan player and alum. Well done.

What's next on your agenda? Mocking those who died from cancer, like the late Jim Mandich? Laughing at leukemia patients like the late Tom Slade? Or maybe make fun of those with heart problems, like Bo.



January 27th, 2013 at 3:50 PM ^

I knew Leroy pretty well in college. He and Tracy Williams lived two doors down in S Quad and we hung out some. I could tell a lot of cool stories here but i won't.

Pains me to see this. Leroy is an incredibly intelligent and decent guy and was always fun to be around. I know he comes to this board so I'm sure the kind thoughts would be appreciated.

This hits pretty close to home. Gotta really think about letting my boys continue to play football.


January 27th, 2013 at 3:56 PM ^

I decided long ago that my future kids will not play football. It just always seemed obvious to me that bashing your head against a wall for 60 plus minutes a week would have some effects. This just makes me more sure of that decision. Incredibly sad. I'm not sure if its a double standard to then enjoy watching football so much, but what can I say.


January 27th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

I mean, at what point is my entertainment worth watching guys scramble their brains?  I've heard suggestions before that removing the helmets from the game might actually help because the players wouldn't lead with their heads and wouldn't have nearly as many full speed collisions.

He's only in his 40's, for god sake.  


January 27th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

That was a very tough watch, and I found the part about how he writes the names of Waters, Duerson and Seau on each notebook so that he "never forgets". That was very, very poignant to me and that makes me wonder how many of stories like Hoard's are still out there.

It is incredibly difficult to imagine someone only a decade older than you facing mental and physical deteoriation on a scale like that. There's an almost bitter irony too in him doing a radio show about the sport he loves still and yet is responsible for his mounting problems. 

User -not THAT user

January 27th, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

"American Man" when it comes on ESPN Classic later today...it definitely made me do a bit of soul-searching to the point of where I'm pretty sure that letting my son play football (hockey, also) is off the table...I'm also beginning to wonder if by watching the damned game I'm a contributing factor to the injuries these men are inflicting upon each other.


January 27th, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

Fyi, my son plays soccer and we really went over proper heading technique when he was old enough to head. I played my whole life and  ref nowadays seeing awful technique, especially in girls, which could definitely give concussions. You never see retired pro soccer players doing stories like Leroys. Anyway always make sure your son is with a knowledgable coach who is also a responsible parent. Educate yourself on real dangers.

My son also is a swimmer. I thought this was the most boring sport in the world when he started a 7. As I became more educated, understood the work required to be good at it, and how close many HS teammates are, I am very thankful he will probably choose this as his only sport next year. The kids are all ripped, there is no dangerous stress, and it is something they can do for a lifetime. 


January 27th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Easy solution: helmet-helmet hits= automatic 2 game suspension. Allow roster expansion, and allow people in and out of games more fluidly. Most people dont watch the game for defensive players anyway.


January 27th, 2013 at 4:30 PM ^

I loved to watch football at the HS, college, and pro level but there are too many stories like Leroy's and I am very conflicted. I don't buy the proper tackling technique argument that can avoid these kind of head injuries. The sport seems too random to control collisions. When played "right" it is just a violent game. Even at the high school level kids are getting bigger, stronger, faster and the collisions are more and more violent.

At the pro level, they are playing too many games for the greed of owners and our entertainment as we sit on the couch. Nobody, regardless of how tough they are, can take this kind of punishment.

After watching the Patriots RB taking that blow last Sunday, I just thought that this is enough. Now Leroy's story and others like his are becoming common place. How can we let our sons play this game?

btw I honestly feel Manti Teo has taken too many blows to the head already.



January 27th, 2013 at 9:26 PM ^

But here's the thing, the stories don't represent the actual numbers.  NFL players do have a higher rate of problems than the normal population, but it's not nearly as big of a gap as it's been made out to be. You could have 8 or 9 stories of guys being fine or having minor issues for every terrible one.




To be honest, there are a lot of jobs that pay a heck of a lot worse that have long-term effects. I wish Leroy the best, and I think it's terrible that some people have problems, but I guess I just don't see why anyone would be shocked that playing 10 years in the NFL isn't good for you. 


January 27th, 2013 at 10:43 PM ^

the conclusion doesn't jive with your comment. It said : Results Of the 34 former NFL players, 20 were cognitively normal. Four were diagnosed as having a fixed cognitive deficit; 8, mild cognitive impairment; 2, dementia; and 8, depression... I'd say if over 40% of players had depression, dementia or fixed cognitive deficit that is not insignificant.

"Money made" doesn't justify these statistics and it is different too in that we view this as our entertainment.

French West Indian

January 28th, 2013 at 8:39 AM ^

All football fans should probably be asking themselves these questions.

Personally, I think I'm pretty  much done with the sport.  I already don't go to games and I rarely watch any on TV.  Other than checking up on scares & recaps (mainly for watercooler-type small talk), I don't really support the game at all and now, I'm thinking that I should probably even cut that out too.


January 27th, 2013 at 4:49 PM ^

Gosh, I really feel for Hoard. And I think the NFL ought to be doing more for its former players.

When I was fresh out of law school a long time ago, my firm represented one of the former Lions O-Linemen who'd started on their 50s championship teams. This was in the early 70s, so he hadn't been out of football for more than 15 years or so. He'd been a star. By 1975, he couldn't walk without two canes or a walker.

I remember being shocked to see one of my heroes in that kind of shape.

He certainly couldn't do much in the way of work, and in those days pro ball didn't pay what it does today. So he needed our help.

Of course the Lions, being the Lions, denied him any workers' compensation. And it had to be litigated. I remember being disgusted with the team, yet somehow remained a football fan, and thought, "Well, that's football."

Honestly, I'd like to see some safety reforms, because I'm beginning to feel like an ancient Roman at the gladiatorial games - where incidentally, the vast majority of fights were not to the death (gladiators and their training were too expensive to waste). We see some pretty serious injuries, and it seems like they happen with nearly every game. We accept it. I dunno why.


January 27th, 2013 at 4:58 PM ^

I knew Leroy back in school. Good dude. I feel bad that he and his family have to endure this. He certainly is handling this with a lot of poise and grace.

Best wishes.


January 27th, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

I wonder whether all the "protective" equipment in football has made the sport less - or more - dangerous. Many runners are now finding that the barefoot/minimalist running shoes (Vibram, etc.) are actually better for correct running posture, stride, and minimizing injuries.

In football, if the players knew that they were not as well "protected", would their tackling, blocking, running techniques be different? Would they be more or less prone to injury?