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Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Eugene Robinson and Dr. Ross Zafonte

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Former NFL free safety and Super Bowl Champion, Eugene Robinson joins our show along with Dr. Ross Zafonte. Dr. Zafonte is a renowned expert in brain trauma and is currently working with Eugene on the Harvard Football Players Health Study. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

All right joining us today in thehuddle my co host Dave cannot make it today.So I will be doing the interview all by my lonesome today in the huddle joiningus is Eugene Robinson. You may remember him from the Seattle Seahawks, theGreen Bait Packers Atlanta Falcons or Caroline Panthers. He had anunbelievable sixteen year career. He was a three time pro ball or two timeall pro in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three. He led the League andinterceptions, which is amazing. He was a super bowl champion and three timeNFC champion and he made the anniversary team with the Seattle Cox.Just anincredible career can't wait to hear some of his stories verypassionate about helping players now, and then we also have Dr Ross is aFonte Dor. Savante is a just he's been published extensively ontraumatic brain injuries. He is now the vice president: Medical Affairs,Balting Rehabilitation, hospital chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation,Massachusetts, general hospitals. I can't read all these I mean is his hisCVS way too long for me, but Eugene and Ross are working together on thefootball players. Health Studi. At Harvard University they're trying tofigure out what is going on with the players byasking questions, getting some subjective questionnaires out toplayers and trying to get them to be involved so that they can find thingsthat may help us as we age as we get old or as we're even playing so today on our show joining us in the huddle,Dor, Ros, safonte and Eugene Robinson, so dors a fante Eugene. I appreciateyou guys getting in Te Hodem with me today and I really want to start and byasking Eugene first, you know what was that spark when you were a kid when youwere growing up, I think you're from Connecticut right, that's ere when youwere growing up in Connecticut was what was that spark that had you, a love ofsports In't nes really have to be flootball. But what was that for you?It was a Messo lackhes ru back to for it number twenty four I Speiwa Som dospent Morgaist, maybe Dallas coboys or Washington. It fell OIO hapen to belike Maye, eight, nine years old. I want to do that and I wul outside semoves ut that so my journey for Wa, Ed Lak Footbal. I was really smackin andmy broter was really good. My cousin was really good and is always o afterTham W forme and that's what Sar Oo Nice Nice. What about you DOCR t a finday, so I think t sports are awesome. Iplayed in high school about I football and base bond. An setwantly went on andplay a little bit of baseball, Tyn Oto streighs an college, and then you knowmy son is a college hackey player, and I think that there is something specialabout team state base. Sport they bring us together. They teachers how to workfor a goal and in many ways that he transforme the way we think about selland goals towards others. So what you see is a lot of people who participatein Teim based sports are more successful in the end yeah. No, I agreean a lot of our guests. We talked about when we were young. How we used to justgo outside get all our friends in our neighborhood and we would just go playwhatever game that was. There were no parents, there were no rests. We had tofigure everything out for ourselves. Can you guys kind of tell me a storyabout what you remember from being a kid and how that kind of helped youthrough your life a little bit? So let me let me stop here: Oss igus. Iremember my brother telling me we were playing football and I came out. I wasINA hood where there was a lot of brick buildings. It was not o subemit, veryfew green passers well and we were...

...playing football in the parking lot. Iguess two other friends and we were down seven points and my brother toldme he sai look. It only takes one Playe Chas hes game. Around E, I was behindthe electic nd Twenty Five Car Eo D. Twenty five, I was behind hat Isa. MyPaer, my PA was outroute Carter out behind it to eny five. He throws I baxto me. I catch it. I tink ot one guy ICO Texol, my brother came back to mesaid see, that's what I'm telling you and one takes one play te case e story,one place Sa. No, you can't forget that you just need one poace Te. I've neverever forgotten that lesson and I hapen he was ten years old and I was I that'sgreat. I love that what about you dog? So I think one of the things that I canremember a kid is going outside and playing. You know, baseball all day,long all night long and had be called in it. Ninety PM at night, and I thinkexactly as you said, Gess I teaches us to work with other people. I teachis usto sove our problems. It teaches US Thave, a common goal and Eugene said itti Ti this resinience right. He didn't give up. One playe can change anything,and I think that you know concernig it are we losing some elements of thatteaching. I think so. I think that is a concern,because most of my guess that I've talked to I'll tell the same storiesthat you guys ave told, and they said that's one thing when they have kidsand and they don't see them going out- they don't see him playing because allof our sports are organized now an they don't learn those things that, whenyou're with your friends and you get that punch to the gut whether it's youfall down, you got to get back up or you're, leading your team andeverybody's counting on you. There's nobody there that' going to call timeout or that's Goinna, you know, call fol and you get seconds it just youplay and you figure it out and it teaches you how to Pul yourself back upoff the ground and Thathat'Si think you'R fineon and I think that's alittle bit of what we're missing today, and so we all lot of people e playedsports when they're young. What do you guys think that why so many people falloff when they go into high school? Why they fall off and don't continue toplay athletics? We istoayis very different. You gothingthat Mitges your y Ou want to play football and we s football. I meanthere's so many things you can get involved in and it's push from parentsto find a right pit for their child. The find right thank for the child,kids, I remember doing three sports. I mean I was not baseball football andwresting all right. I did that off op my Atal crrect kiss. Now they cosota onbaseball, becaus, footbal e cot Ti basketball, that's it because that'stheir ticket and then wat social media, education, AL thinthere's, a lot ofthings that mititate against what I used to be able to do bit is just go,have fun as a kid and Ido it Awfu resports and doing my high school heras apposer. It's being such a coly Focus Getin to college axthreylevel thing! That's what has become a little bitmore so as opposed to the fun that I've been used to as a kid. So I thinkEugene Fan, I mean, think abot guys. All these kets now are in programs fromwhen they're, very, very young and all the dinge from ourpesidfor the medicalscience ide keep suggestic. That hyperspecialization is a young personis a bad thing, and yet we keep encouraging it. Nobody had anexperience that Eugene had: U Play Resports and nee its Pan Kit. Everybodyis, is doing the same thing all the...

...time eleven months a year and that'sjust not good for them yeah. I think there was something so special playingmultiple sports. I had. I just interviewed Christine Brennon who writes for USA Today, she's beenyou know, one of the first female writers covering the Redskins in abunch of people. She told me Ou in high school. She played six sports twel toevery season because when she was growing up in the s, the girlsathletics weren't as important as the boys and the coach was the same coachfor three of the sports and she wanted Chrisnie to play everything. So itshould go from one to the next to the next, and you just can't do that now,yeah I mean I and it starts to young guys. So, for example, football- maybeone thing, but in xample you're in you're in westernPennsylvania hockey they start hyperspecializing those kidsextremely early on. Well, they do not be good well and what happened to thecoach says Ahl. This person has talent in this sport, and so you just need tofocus on this sport and not be go. Do the rest of your stuff. But whathappens to that? I think, is you lose socialization by when you go play?Other sports, I mean I played basketball with kids. I wanted him toplay football with me, but they didn't, but IV got to be friends with multitudeof kids because I played major sports and I think we lose a little bit ofthat. Socialization is so important for kids today and when they're stuckbehind the screen, they lose a lot of that. I agree and you can't find your nit. Imean what, if you, what if football is not your thing, but it might bewrestling. I was not. I mean when I went tocollege. I was five eight I weighed a hundred and fifty pounds. I was atwrestling high school and I was really really good wrestler, but wrestlingallowed me to play football because nobody knew I could tackle. What I canhit is hard because I was a wrested. Nobody even cared that I was a wrestlerI would submit to you. Wrestling was one of the best things I ever could do.If I wanted to train to be a football player, an tought me how angles andtaught me hand fighting, and it taught me how to go ahead and taffle correctly.What guys now try to go out and learn how to tackle correctly? I didn'talways do it, but it taught me how to do it and so for that' that point playing another sport wrestling N I forme this wrestling was really really good and I found my Nich as being asmall guy who really didn't play until I was a junior, because I was too small yeah. You know my my fatherinlawcoached high school football for forty two years and he made most of hisfootball players wrestel, because he understood that. There's no other wayto get that flexibility in your hips. Smart Mat yeah and he always had goodfootball teams, because those kids and his liemen were always the biggesttoughest guys, but they were linebackers say you know. Everybodyplayed both ways and wrestling was a key to that. I think that that that crossdisciplinary, Multiple Sport Handeye strength of being able to see a numberof different visual spacial things. That's go! THAT'S REALLY IMPAIRED B! Tif you just do one thing and and Eugene stories right, a perfect one right sobefore we get into like your next transition out of high school, andthings like that. I want to ask you what we've asked most of our guests andI think we're a hundred percent on it that if you guys played whiffeball whenyou were kids, yes and we want to bring it back R. mycohos Dave isn't here he's visiting his dad in Arizona this week, but we lovelithabolt. We think it's so much fun and you could pick it up and I had theCEO of NEP on Kevin Rabbit and weve played golf a few times and everywherewe go he's like that, would be a perfect Wi, foball field. You know it's a game that hey look, wedon't have to get violent, you don't...

...have to go out and ta Wi somebody oryou know like basketball, but you can have a lot of fun and pick teams andlearn a lot from that game, and- and so I'm glad we're staying a hundredpercent that you guys have played when you were kids and e was so I wiffeballwas so inclusive. I mean we playd with football, so the boys and the girls weall played together ihood and we played with eball yeah because it didn'tmatter didnt Matte, the other thing about wippaball. I think that I sort ofa really cool idea is not only did you play as a kid, but really it'ssomething you could keep going as you get older right and and if we thinkabout it, a lot of people don't love running and so people giving a movementthey're, giving up movement too early and and whitfoball might keep peopleactive even later, but I think also it adds to your handeye coordinationtotally. I mean you think about how much a whifaball can break and you know- and you watch all these.You know you're watching baseball today and your say how's. This guy strike outevery time, Yeu can't it a curveball Bu. He must never play wofeball in he.Never playd, Whitfoobal Riaks, all the time things going twelve to sixstraight down, but you know, and then part of our show isreally about transitions that we all go through right. You go through beingyoung and then Allo sudden you're entering high school, then you'reentering college and all these transitions make us who we are todayand for Eugene. You sports played a huge role in your career in your life.What was that transition like going from high school to College? You know I walked on most people, don'tknow that I walked on. When I got to college. I asked the coach: Can I comeout? They were at cogate university. They were little him. Ind t e halllittle bitbecause. I was very, very small. I was five eight one, fortysevenundred fifty, and so I didn't look apart. Nothing scream that you wantthis guy on your team. Well Cos allowed me to come on cose down, lafh allowedme to come out, and I was like one of the only three guys. I've then recruitrecruiting class of twenty six to make divarsity team, and it was because Iknow I was good and I remember Hir's a great story for you. I remember whenthey left me out of the gym at Cogat University, because I I never used tolift weights. I was a wrestler, but I never LEVD for weight, and I remember Istruggle to lift undred n thirty five, which is the standard I've spruggled AP,that one time I liked at one time and I said what the Tirelock Room they laughd itfell out, and this is what I said. I said all right, I'll see you G on afootball fild. I don't know these guys and I don't know me and I was hurtingmad. I went on TA football field. People are still laughing going to wat,that's getting go di. Gonno do. I was one of the only people to make theBarsy team because I could tackle. I was tough, but I never left weight, andso that was kind of like the beginning of my journey of football, and I justgot progressivly better and when I became actually a Christian, I got evenbetter because football become it just became a littlebit more. I thought of it thought of it differently and when I, my junior overthings, change from my life totally so ther is thit's been a great story forme and I love my transition from college. I men to high school tocollege and then ultimately into the propes. Well, Eugenit goes to show thatthat football necessarily isn't about howmuch weight you con live it's about. What's inside your chest, you don't askwhy you know Becauseie seen a lot of guys who aren't the biggest in the bestin the Waih Room, but there you go down on that field and you don't wantanybody else beside you than that. Guy! That's right, and sometimes people whenyou when you go, and you start looking at stats and analytics and all that andthey sayd well. This guy can bench his and jump this Sig and everything thatCoul to me that gets thrown out the window, because I want that guy at'sGoin to give me everything he got every play. Oh I'm totally with you, and Iwas always that guy because I wasn't I...

...didn't, have the measurables andbecause I didn't have the measerables, I felt a little out of place, but whenI was on the field, I felt totally right at home right exactly so so doc. When you were in high school, yousaid you played sports in high school, you transition and gone intointocollege. Did you play sports in College? was that a hard transition for you didyou? Did you always know what you wanted to do now? I sort of discovered what I wantto do like a lot of people. I find out for baseball in college and stuckaround for a little while, and I think I think what what I figured outwas. I wanted to help people and I m wanted to help people. I learned thatthrough a number of lessons I learnt that through family members being sick,and I learnt that through fellow athletes being injured and hurt, Iwanted to figure out a way that we could help people recover and do alittle bit better right know. That's so important and as you're going through your journey incollege. What was that point that really madeyou want to help people think tdid, something happene to you happene to doa friend of yours or really made that all come to fruition for you yeah. So Imean I think I had a bad week and sometimes you know, as Eugene said,residience is really an important thing, so I had a really good friend who wasyou know, injured in a car accident and then subsequently had another friendwho was Toras, ACL and- and you know back then probably didn't do quite aswell, and then my grandfather had a stroke in the same week and and sort ofputting all of that stuck together said well. What can I do to sort of combatall of these issues and and and I took on and trying to get into medicine, butbut really also trying to say how do we do better right? You know, and- and Ihave two people with me here today, like Eugene, you Gong From College, andyou go on to play sixteen years in the NFL doc. You take your metal cor careerand I know how intensive and hard that is, and all the studies you have to dois a in psychiatry. It's difficult and youguys both perfected your craft ougene. One thing I always say is you know Idon't have a PhD, but I have one in football. Yes, you do, and you know itwas twenty five years long into making, and and so how do you know- and I lookat you guys and it's different, but it's the same. So it is os talk alittle bit about that. Yeah well wane the adoctrination process of football.You start when you're young, we talked about being UNSUPERVISD, Ers, kids andplaying football, and then you get into organize football, but there's a hostof things that go along with it. There is an academic portion of football thatmost people don't know. You think thirs, just a physicality. You just run outthere there's no place. There's no scame, there's no chest. It is ultimatechess and there's an academic process that if you can understand theacademics of football alone with the physicality and the athleticism of it,you could be a very, very good player. I understood that quickly, early in mycareer, I got that in high school that I had to be really really smart. I gotthat, but what it would it lit this suff was too is that that is a host ofthings that you do as a football player that, in a split second, that the mostcommon person would not be able to do or couldn't perform because you'reunder too much stress and you have to apply the academics Te physicality themoment to stress all that rol up to one to make the right decision. We do thatgus every single day, weve traind ourselve- to do that and to handle thatstress and the handle that all that volatility and the hanmlet and t beright, almost every single time, with...

...typically we're wrong. But if we'rewrong we get beat by somebody, maybe a little bit better. Who happened to beright so from that's that point? I always say this, and I said this andI'll say this forever- that football players are some of the smartest peoplethat you know I mean they can go into any industry, I think, and what thelevel of education they have, because they been a football player, be able toapply that and find Thair way to be saccessful and indiscipline. There's nodoubt, there's too much stuff, you got to know, there's too much stuff, yougot to learn, you know and the only thing that militates against that iswhat's happening concurrently currently now to all with the cogniton cardiacbuck, sleep ATNEA, immobility with knees and whatnot. That's the onlything that militates against that narrative, which I just pt pointed outright, so so doctors fontic. Can you give me alittle bit of that kind of what that was like for you? So as you go throughyour journey of in medicine and comparing that to what Eugene wastalking about well, I think I think that's it's stunningly similar right.So it's not as much of the physical premise, although the stamina part ofit in some ways is right. You got to stay, focused you're, going to stay upfor crazy hours, your workhours or are pretty substantial, but but there's atheme here that we didn't touch us. Both things teach mental discipline ifyou're not following a regiment, if you're, not training, if you're notstudying, if you're not following program there, the most talented peopledon't always make it, it's the most talented who want to work hard who havethe heart for it who are successful in both football andmedicine right? No, I think that's a common thing. No, I really is because I understand it.My daughter is in Vet Scol at Penn she's goinge Bo she's going into herthird year, and I no you know being in being teaching human anatomy. You learnone anatomy, but in vet school she had to learn for inanomies at the same time,so it's very difficult and then her boyfriend is getting his mdphdinCincinnati right now. So I understand like that process and how many yearsthat takes you know and when you guys are just ramping up doc and get intothat that end period for where you can go be on your own as football playerswe're just finishing right, so you'r startig, hav transition, that's new andI go be free from you know the academic side, but you're always learning and infootball we're saying: okay, we're transitioning away from what we lovedinto something else, and sometimes it's coaching, sometimes whatever EA. So Ithink it's a really intre interesting transition. When I have both you onthat, you know one is being born again like you're out there and the other oneis saying H, man, I'm at the end, I got to figure out what's next absolty, so Ithink that's important. It goes to some of the things that oujam was talkingabout this transitions time for players that we're trying to study at our studyand Jean is so kind to be. An advisor for is a really big thing when we thinkabout that period of time where people leave football, it's very much like the military. It'svery much like all of ha sudden, you're out and being out, isn't so easy. It'snot easy on a number of different things, and and it's one of the thingsthat we're trying to understand how to we help people during that time. How isthat for you doc? As far as when you transition like you, go through yourresidency and and then all of a sudden you got to figure out like where am Igoing next all right and that hunt for that next, like when you left, I think you were in south Florida right yeah. Did you go toPitt next or was it o? I went to New York next as a Trainin, but but I thinkthat that point of where you're going...

...next is you know it's this unexploredcountry, but the advantage we have is you can sort of select ar B or c Ordre,but I think for performer players when they leave. It is a little bit more ofa clip statement and it's a little bit harder and I think we need to thinkabout how do we help people when they, when they make that change right? What do you? What do you thinkabout that Eugene? Well, it's interesting as a listen to as hes talk, a Haut rosses he's talking,and I could just only think about when he is beginning his career, I'm endingmy career, but when I end my career, I got a whole host of things. That'sassociated with my career that I have to know. Conten with that, would nowcould ultaly chase the success in the direction of my my life as he's in inhis career. He's gonna be now studying the things that can affect me becausehis his education is pecifically for thatwhich I am now pursuing whith endeavors pursuing what problems Imight have. So I think it's kind of interesting that I need him to finishup his THUFP because he needs to help me get right and move forward in mylife right and, if you think about we have all these stressers. We havedifferent stressers, like as a football player when I left the game in twothousand and eight. I said all right, I'm Goingno go help my kids and coachDam, and then I don't know what's next and you have a bank account, that's,okay and- and some of that stress is not there as asa doctor and you're leaving school, you might have a lot of dat horrible pancae,and that stress is unreal. You ow so there's all these different stressesthat affect US mentally, and what do you Haveso? I mean they're, not thesame, but they are similar in a way. Don't you think doc? I think that'sexactly right. How we deal with spat stress goes back to some of thoseconcepts that we touched on the beginning of the conversation aboutresilience about learning to deal with things about what happens. If you getpunched, do you get up, but but stress for us is very different. It might bethe financial stress of owing a pile of money as you get out. It might be thestress that many of the elements of performance and what people have todeal with on a daily basis in the hours are very bad these days and how toteach young people to deal with all of those these and pursue a life in informer players situation. A lot of this stress is everything. That's familiarto me has changed and, as Jean said, I have some medical issues and biokind ofpsychosocial, some stuff that I made on an individual basis need to deal with,and how do I deal with those things and because I never really thoughtabout this stress when I in left the League and then I'm thirty, eight yearsold? I never thought about it, but when butguys that knew were having problems for that was cogniion sleep Etna. Myroommate was reggiwit, who Wen passing away at age, forty, three righ. So whatI? What when I looked at it and I'm Goin? Oh, my goodness, I'm saying holdup, and am I what have I signed up for and that's something. I never even thoughtabout entering my mind that that the mortality rate of a football play- Coul,be very it cand, be very, very quick that this could be a short live. Inever thought about that until I asted I football until I saw people around me,peers, older guys, whor now having problems and who ended up passing away,oh or sit. I was like wow. This is a very, very real thing, a very and Ijust added more stress until my life,...

...as I still got, a job still need to geta job, an take care of my fand and to Jean's point I mean I think Ithink people aren't. You know just thes so much in the media thesedays, but there's a lot of things that perhaps we're finding and others arefinding that football players are susceptible to, but many of themactually can be dealt with and and can improve somebody's qualityof life in the near term. While we're trying to find some global answersright exactly, and I think that family plays a big part of that, whether it'sthe person you marry you or ther evot their significant other, your kids Eugene, you know in the NFL, thedivorce rate is very high yeah and I think a lot of guys focus so hard onwhat they love is that they forget about what's at home and then all of asudden, they're home they're not going into work every day and they're likeokay. What do I do with these guys? You know and they have a realissue one ofthe things that I've always done. I played for seven teams and I made suremy family was with me every time we moved at as Gona, because I knew they Ihad to. They were going to be there for me through thick and thin, and I wantedto make sure that I didn't ever miss something or be without them, because Iknew that I saw too many guys leave that leave, that that locker room andwithout their family and just say you know what it's not going to end goodfor them and no matter how much you talk to him, it's so important and evenin the medical community doc. You know, like you, said, there's so much timethat you have to spend a learn and understand and develop what your skillsare, that if you may have met someone and then you have a family, it's youknow you guys are not with them as much as as you want to be. Oh, no. Our our rates of familial concerns are veryhigh, but but you guys both bring up a really important thing with Yois thatand Gen. It seems this people's social connectivihow they're connected totheir community. Their families is a big determinive of how well they do.Social isolation is not a good thing for your healte and whether you're aphysician or a former player. I think we need to get at that a little bitmore, and let me just let me let me just say that most football playerswhen they come out of the League and I've experienced this and I've seen anumber of guys experienc. This is that they feel aulected by themselves, Toswhat you lea in fl, this noone's beating down your door, no wons! Youdon't have the same fan far people not asking for your autographs. Hopefullyyou did well in college an hopefully you make connections and network sothat you could get and move in, but that transition, if even Anass afootball league can be very, very lonely- and I remember there's a numberof guys. I know Wolt calthe names, who was just absolutely along and felt like.Oh Man, I give him my my whole life to football. Is that and nobody gives ahoot about me right now, thereis a social depression that happensafterwards when you leave the National Football League, that is, could becabilitan. That can be absolutely scary and feel like you're alone, and that'ssome of the landscape gust that we have that's one of the reasons why regiewhite came out of retirement hew's like he's a commit when he was retired. Whatare you doing? What you doing jude pobwy calling me and then he comes backadvertise. It gets back to natinal football Y for two years. Well, Iunderstand that loneliness. I get it I'm not. Having that connection, Itotally dit it from a football standpoint. He had a family, yes, butit was a different connection that he was missing. I'm like look get footballout of your system because wonce this God is gone, and then you have to dosomething else, and that's one of the stress that we have talked about wasthat kind of alluted to about that loneliness that football player stilleven among all the fat fair that you get there's a lone. I this what sholdLeav Telev there there really is, and...

...if you don't have that community set up,if you don't have that family set up, then when you do leave the League, theteams are moving on just they are they're going to have a legends day oralumni day once months a year right for one game, but the rest of the timethey're moving on, because they got new players coming in n. They have money tomake it's a business, and that's one of the things that I really notice thatsome of these alumni organizations are doing a better job of understanding. IsYou know, with tha legends community and the NFL alumni that we have to findways to create a new community and with withthe chapters and different cities, I think that's so important, not just todo functions for you know it's great to go and say: Hey we're going to give youa new shirt and we're Gong to go the Gulf whatever. But it's doing somethingdifferent. Let's, let's do something a little more and bring that communityfeel back into guys. Aren't lonely because you do miss the Locker Roomwhen you've been a part of a locker room for a long time. You really missit. I watched hardknocks the other night and I watched all three episodesof my daughters when I was babysitting her dogs and I, like God, I really misslike the fun of being in practice and drawn with people and doing all that.But but you know guys to both of your point. It that's among the things thatwe're trying to study and understanding that transitions point because jeansdead on, and I think you are to guys that moment that people transition theymiss something, and I think it's the bonding with others. It's you know thecommentary, the Joslinind to others, the kind of things you see on hard,knocks it's not as much and you guys would have to tell me the directhitting it's it's that I miss the connectivity, thepurpose, my friends, a a common bonding, and that actually means something topeople here. Yeah I think loneliness can be a RoaleDeterento, Mierat mental health and it just and and other forms of health cuss.I think it has a global health impact beyond just mental health, a NB forsure well and I think that's right. We all have our phone we're on it, we'reyou know we're doing things, we're not communicating how many often, if youguys gone to dinner- and you see people just not even communicating and talkingYep and we're not sure that texting takesthe place of what we all grew up with, which was sitting around the table ortalking with a bunch of guys or being in the corner, sharing a purpose. I'mnot sure it's quite the same right. So how do you guys feel thestudy is really going after some of those issues that we've talked aboutbefore Russ says? Let me, let me tell you why I got in the study and I wantedto be a part of the study, because so long that've always been an advocate ofnational football league, and I remember striking BAC, one thousandnine hundred and eighty seven, I ame one thousand nine hundred and eightyfive, my midtok day Brown. He really kind of heped walk me through becominga NFL rap. I've always was thinking about advancing the National FootballLe to where it is now that guys get getting paid like crazy, a right,better benefits and othe things that nature. Once I got out, I saw some ofthe things maladies and things that we were facing as players and then, when Ihad the opportunity to another good friend of mies from Alanta, let's ArchiBrota, Heyman Harva's, doing study commission by the Gase byy playersssotatin and find out what's wrong with the old guys and t see what cup ofsoluces they can come up with same type of things, therapies. They can come upwith the help, the old guys I said I got to be on for it, because I want toadvance the national football league. I gint to be a part of that conversation.Wherev guys have cognitive issues, cardiac issues, mobility issues, filling at long stress, all thosethings that nototate against the old guy ut. I'm in that group, the old guy.I want to be able to help advance thap...

...going forward and I found a nice fit,but Harvard who was doing some really really good working outlet. Nottrossarticulate some of the the work that they're doing, but would do us Om,really good work, and this is what I felt man these guys care about me.These guys are concerned about what I think these guys concerned about whathappens to me as opposed to Wan your Ol player and when you're out. Nobodyreally cares about you because they care about the guys that they deal Ipwith the crop that they have right now, the current players right Wat Harfard.That has not been the case and that's why I got involved so tanks Gen, I mean, I think, that's agreat description. I think the reality is that what we tried to do is listento former players. UNDERSTAND: what's happened to people like thattransitions time like other elements and we're not just a single thing. Sothis is the largest study of former players ever undertaken by asignificant amount and then what we've done really is to think about. Well,it's not just I'm interested only in their head or only in their knees oronly in their ankle. You know, people are people and we care about thosepeople how we make them better, so it's real likely that your heart interactswith your ran and the way you tran interacts up here and the pain yourfeeling might have an impact on here and your heart, and that if we can takesome of these kinds of things away, we might be improving people's qualityof life, which is what we really care about. So to us. This has been thewhole player of the whole life, we're interested in how people interact withtheir family. We're interested if they're, depressed we're interested inhow their brains are functioning were n thertristed in the fact that many havehypertension we're interested in the fact they have sleep, apne and pain,and how do those things affect each other, all right, so doc, you're doingall these great things, some of the tests are subjective. Some of them areobjective now when a player comes in and he ispart of the questionnaires and the surveys and and getting testing whatcomes back to the player. What are you guys doing back for the player? Are yousaying, okay? Well, you have all these issues and problems, and you probablyknow them. I mean it's your life, but here's what we're going to do to helpyou get through this? What are you doing Fillyma? So that's that's aphenomenal question, because what we've done is we've made a real big focusabout results. Return Eugene has been a part of some of these calls. Some ofthe things were trying to broadcast out, so we have one demean where we've donesome of the work from those surveys and we're trying to send out all the timeinformation to people or having calls with people having opportunity meetingswithin you know, chapters in various regions. How do we tell people aboutwhat they should do for their health, based on what we've learntd and thensecondarily for the group of people that we bring to Boston? Who are kindenough to you know? Do a little bit more testing, here's what we do. We sitdown with them and at the end, and we go through their results and say: Hey!You know my friend this one is fine, you're! Okay, here this one might be alittle bit of. I think I think we should have you follow up in thefollowing way with this person or that person, and then we try to bridge someof that attachment. So we don't just leave people with stranded in some ways. The other partof it that I think you bring up really well, is okay. When we find somethingwe want people to begin to address it. So you know, among the things that areall over the media, is that you know everybody is first having problems withwith their brain. Well, it turns out that, at least in some studies thatwe've found a bigger cause of problems, is there cartiof Baska Ar Helt Oroughlyon right yeah? No, I agree with that and Eugena.What do you think? What are you doing?...

I mean you're, a former player. How doyou feel the study has helped you? You know by going through this well one it just hes helps addressissues that most guys ar have't when I'm going to our alumni meetings, or hemean I live Yo Carlet, I get to hear the Mons Man. This hurts that hurts andI'm, like you know what Harvard has a has a study, a survey. You need to takethis to get that on the records, so we can go ahead and address some of theissues that you may be having and then what I think I like most of this isthat somebody actually cares. Someoneactually cares about what what I'm going through my roommateReggie white hat sleep at NEA anhe dying of sagadosas. I believe that'sthe correct term of this refer go yeah tell you that he had soedosies. I thinkit is yes SAR quick, so yeah, but I remember him having a se pat machinewhen he was wwe being in the room, if be sleeping, and he would be sleepingwith the machine. I didn't know that that was pervasive im on bi, some ofthe bit guys that I play with. I had no idea that some of the big guys wildhave to see pat machine and when I talkd to other guys it Tim, Oh yeah man,I used to wear that machine yeah because it helped me breathe. I'm U,like M help. You breathe yeah, I stopp breathing. When I, when I'm sleepingI'm like is that is that legal? Can you actually do that, and so I didn't evenknow and then having these guys address sleep at near and that that may be evenmore of a cause of issues that we don't even know about that we kind of like tosay: Oh Yeah, he's actually nave no big deal well, they've opene my eyes thatthere's a whole host of things that really go against the football playerthat I take for granted, because I think I bullet proof tough and I got ohno pick Di. I no longer say this no big deal. I know O sa. I'm justaching thishers, my elbow on my wristper. I go. Oh that's a big deal. That's seld mesomething going on and Harvasd helping o illuminate these things. That's goingon to make me feel a little bit more comfortable about what remedies andwhat places I need to go to get it fixed, Hanlo. Well, I think we're that's ingrained ifyou'R, if you're a professional football player fighting through pain,Anba is ingrained in what you're taught, because if you don't play, if you'renot on a field you're not getting paid, you ang in pay right, and so that said,I mean I can't tell you ow make toward all shots. I've had how many injectionsI've had just to get back out in the field and play when it coud says. Lookif you don't practice, you're, not playing literally I got to get paid. Igot take care of my family right, so that's part of it too that s that'stough for guys to deal with, especially when they're done. Nobody cares and and Gus. You said. TheTOURDO I'v Taken Tourdo shot from Natperson I've taken the nappersoninnocent every little anti flamaratory thing that you you know, just as I canstay on a field to make sure I have a job, so I can get paid. But what is thecost of that now? Moving forward that I never even thought about at all o agood hall of fame o kin easily I played with in Seattle. He had kidney feilure because his wasadvill. He was taking crazy mouts of Adville and I have no idea that wasmessing up this kidneys and neither did he and and messing up his kidney saidthis day here and that's supthing. He just got inducting Al Te Tang about twoor three years ago and it's had a tol on his life. But Ididn't know we don't know all this stufh, but hey, I'm Gonto, take a tourdor whatever I can. The Gon feel because I got to take care of my familyright, which Iyo know the Tommon thing guys to what you both have said. Isthese system interact right and so, if...

...you're, taking a bunch of Tordall andyou get and adbill and piles te Ad Bill and you get kidney to have ag in yourhypertension and t affects up your brain and your heart and your kidneys? There are ways of trying to deal withthis early on and preventing a lot of these things, and and that's where ourheads should be, what can we learn and deliver really soon to people or tellpeople to do now right so duck on that same line? Are you guys,Partnering With Anybody Else? When you get this information- and you say lookout of- I think you guys have somewhere out foursand people in to study when wesay that pay twenty five percent of our our athletes, that we'e studied orhaving this issue? Are you looking for partners or people to be to help yousay hey? We can help fix this. Like you guys found out the issue. We can go nowand help fix this multiple different Tomean. So we're doing some targetedstudies to bring to bear. You know really innovative things. For example,how do you repair an ACL betteror? How do you prevent sleep, Atnan people etc?ETCA? So yes, you're right, that's number one, but number two. Is We'realso trying to get the message out message out to former players butmessage out to their primary doctors and the people in the medicalprofession hey wake up? This is a common problem in this group. Youmetter screen them for that right, exactly Ni'm part of a company here inPittsburgh, where we've taken old, neuropsychtest and and put them on amobile application. It's called the reverto out and I oafter- I don't know I mean Docuumi have heardof it, but we are in Novercare facilities wherepeople that come in with TVI, stroke and concussion- and you know we collectthree thousand data points on your brain performance. It's not acontession tool, it's more about your brain performance and how that isaffect so everything you guys talked about. I studied with Dr Nusbom for awhile now and it's so important that everythingstarts with our brain and you may have pain in your knee, but I have I need anee replacement. I know my knees killing me. I can't do I can't performat a high level, so it all starts with the brain. Ithink you guys are hitting on something very important, and how do we get theseguys to find out exactly what's going on? Keep yoir performance levels highso that they don't get behind and they can go get another job, because if youmay have made hem a lot of money in the NFL, but that doesn't mean you're happy hm exactly you know, and we know toomany ate you dean that that Happe, that's Happenedo to absolutely andanother thing that you what you mentione or Ow, O Samis line, is thatyou really feel like you got a advocate and and for those who going to belistening to your podcast and Omaybe Listento vis guy, I mean we're talkingscut, but as you do this of Yor podcast and things that nature I mean, I wouldinvite in Qootball players realize this is a safe place. Man. This is. This isa safe place, where someone's absolutely trying to work on yourbenefit, your BEAC, it's a safe and secure place and just know that movingmoving forard, because this is about the old guy, the love, the old guy,coming out of football. Who has all these things that could be potentially deatly dangerousand how do we? How do we avoid these land minds? Well, that's what Harvar istrying to get and do- and all you need to do is take the survey and take the survey and that's allconfidenta and all of all that other nature stuff right there, but we needto take the servant because it's a safe place because we got to find out what'sgoing oon with us. Yeah and we've worked very hard on information,security and a certificate of confidentiality and make sure thateverything is as secure as it possibly can be. So your information is yourinformation and we only look at it from...

...a research purpose. Only people can'tjust get it. It isn't given out everywhere. So do you deidentify allthat dock we do when we look at it Makro absolutely, but what we'refocusing on is not shipping it anywhere. We have it under multiple levels ofsecurity here within the system and we're not sending it anywhere right.That's it. You know with our APP. We do the same thing where we didentifyeverything and we've studied over eight hundred players in the concussionsettlement, where, through their attorneys, because if an attorney wantsto put their player into Suttlement, it cost them a lot of money. So we knowthat we found out that a third or probably impaired a third we don't knowand a third probably aren't impaired, and so those attorneys want to knowwhether they should go, get their full ssessment or not. And so that's what wedo with our tests. We really hole figure that out. It's been veryinteresting and we've really narrowed it down to where we know what playersare really truly hurting and which ones aren't we're not a diagnostic tool, butwe're just a tool that measures and assesses your brain performance- and Ilove- am all your players in your study to use it because the one thing I know I'm talking a lot here, but theone thing I really believe is that we get these things. Let's say you getmoney in TA, Concussion Settlement Yeah, that's great! You got a hundredfiftyhusand, but you have no idea how you're doing day today ow if you have atool that can help you with that, I feel that's really really powerful.Yeah Yeah and I think understanding metrics of measures of brain help andhow we can help people be activists. Rigpe football plyers are not passivepeople, theire activist, and if I can tell people do this this and this at aminimum for your brain healph right exercise lose weigt avoid, as, as Jeansaid, pleap Bapne do a lot of things that we know. That's super helpful, cauand GUSS. Let me just applaud you.Mena the fact that you have that Appyo been workon what Dr Nosbom, you said, Imean you're an advocate for the players and you understand because and out ofyour career, you get it. You understand what what we fight against and what wewhat we go through and that's just commendable, and I conmend you based onwhat you just said, because you're you're bringing so much lighk to thesubject. Well, there's so much t at that people can learn from formerplayers. For you know current professionals like Darnor Efante, abouthow they struggled and went through life, and then we could tell thosedifferent stories and I feel like that to me was way more important thanhearing about how I know I live in here. I I't live here in Pittsburgh and howBig Ben and ab are fighting every day. You know- and I just wante somethingmore for our communities and our kids and everybody else understand it. Sothat's why we kind of started this podcast and and tri to rit informationout to everyone. That's different, it's great, and so you know, I thinkwhat you guys are doing with the study is wonderful. Eugene you've beeninvolved with it for how many years now, it's going on three years now nond. What is your favorite thing aboutthe study? Well, one, I think I's a place where the other advisers weget a chance to get together and you get to feel like a football player.Again I mean there's a community that happens so, besides all the science andthe medical stuff that goes on and all the analysis and all the the conversation that we have. Besidesthat I get the B hag out what regular football players I mean and be with mybuddies in that same format as if I was in the Locke Room once again, withouthaving to Locka Room itself but being Locker Rom, so Harvard has addressedtwo diffinition theres, a medical issue...

...that they're addressing based on theplayer. There's a social ISS issue that thebrace theyre ebracing on the plan ofbringing us together where you get to feell a little bit more comroderie andpart of that Association which you've known in National Calfoly so doc. Onelast question for you here before I get into my last segment, but you knoweverything: You're studying is reactive, stuff right, the problems that come outof playing football and injuries and and medical issues. How can that turninto proactive acceptance for people absolutely sucs? A super importantquestion: How do we prevent things right? HOW DO WE BE PROACTIVE? So whatwe're trying to do is o couple of things. We want to identify theproblems ind their causes and Whil. We for the things we know something about.Have people take aggressive steps to try to mitigate those things early on. Secondly, we want to understand whatare the signs that cause those things and how do we mitigate them very earlyin life, one example of which may be people withrapid weight game have lots of problems later in life, especially urarly lifewaking right. So those are things- and you said, look this person, you knownot you're, not naven name but you're, saying we know that these people havehad these issues. If you can prevent this, then you're going to have a lotbetter chance to live a lot longer in better life. So I get right and thenidentifying the things we know people who have had that experience can doright now right, that's excellent! That is excellent. Okay, one last segment,guys that I do. We call the no huddle it's at the end. I fire a bunch ofquestions. T at you guys and have you answer there, they're, really funquestions, and so I'll just start with you eugene. What'syour favorite NFL memory, but as a fan as a fan, wowl? Okay, as a fan, Iwatche the Seattle seahoks in the in the superbowl that New Englandpatres, I thought and I'm oin see how Seeouk Fan, but I'm a fed of football.I thought SEATTE was getting ready to win the game by just running the battlwith Lids, and I had no idea that the patronts wont a game off the InnerSepson by the by the cornerbacker comes up on a little slat route. An take away,a would be bigvictry from the Seattle Seahawks who I was cutting, was Goinnowin Super Boll number to so. Do you do feel as a defensive player like? Areyou torn like ecause? You love Seattle, but hey a defensive player made of play. That's exactly because I'm a deepesiplayer first and I was like Oh man- that's a great plan, but that's againstmy team yeah. It was an incrodible, incredible playand once again, patrots kind of sneaked that thing out sure they had dd the right Seattle hadddrect. I was already con up the victimright exactly so doc. You, youworked with a lot of NFL players, now whit's one of your favorite memories asa fan. Well, you know jeane stole one o mind, which was that Malcom Butler playat the end Super Bowl, but I guess you know being in New England and a Patriotky was that whole scheme of where I had totally given up in the Super Bowl andthey were losing to Atlanta a few years ago and that miraculous come back. Theyhad in the fourth quarter, just stunned me and the way they won that game waswas was remarkable. We won't tell anybody New England. You were steelersfan before that. Alright, when you lived in Pittsburgh, that is ro all right. Another question all right:doc, who's, your favorite comedian, wow, my favorite comedian. I guess Iwould still probably say seinbelt Nice. What about you? Eugene DAS FL comes tomind immediately. I love DAB. Pel Show was one of the best ever that dod isfunny man. He is great. He is great. Okay. Another question you guys listento any podcast Oi'mgonna start listening to yours, goright, huddl up with guys right. I know...

Wat gus, I mean I just followed you butyeah. I don't listen to it! Generally, bt. I'm Asoguiv had some great guess oncoach, Dick Guy Ten Lees Teinberg. I've had a lot of really good people, FitzPatrick was just on so okay. The list is growing. What about you doc, butwe're definitely going to start following you and follow listening tothat podcast. Sometimes I catch up on the news and listen to podcast fromlike NPR r others stuff yeah. No, I agree with that. All right, so eugene you have a newshow in Charlotte right a morning show yes, I'm like. I am like MichaelStraigt hand when he was with Kelly REPPA. So was me and a Awoman, Iculling Oda Gard. So I do a kind of variety show. Midday show eleven otwelve. Every day, ORNBC WCSC a network is called the Charlotte today show andwe have chefs. We have fashion, we have music, we have food fun, the wholenight and I get to be a host in at cras. That's awesome! So what is the craziestthing? That's happened to you on live TV Tegetn, my as a script as your reading.This cript, the telepromptor and the telepropther goes out completely goesout and yeasothere Yeah Ye, so your brand goes out too right yeah and it'sno other words you cald read you got ta, go ahead and make it up as you go and Iwas making up as I go. Oh that's pretty funny so Ross. What's your who's, yourfavorite person that you follow on twitter? Oh Wow! I don't know if it's a person, I tendto follow some of the news agencies and things like that because to me twittersmore about getting information, sometimes wrong. Sometimes right prettyquickly. I think there's as much good news as there is bad news on twitterright. No, I agree with that. I agree with that. Al Right, Eugene, okay,you've had a long. Sixteen year, NFL career lots of locker rooms, lots ofgood times, lots of bad times, ups and downs. What is the funniest moment thatyou remember during your NFL career Reggie White was the master of praceand jokes and t en one time we were playing for the Carolina Panthers hereand he said G. let's go play an Preak, a joke on Duck Evans so dug evers aresleeping in the training room, so we're going to play a prank on him, for Ididn't know so we're trying to play this Prenk or him and then dug startsto bomit and and what not n my oh, my goodness. I was going to put I like anacid tablet in his in his in in his mouth right. That's what I's trying tdo right. Well, he starts to bum ITAND, go crazy like alkasalsa, and I grabb Tudo do and he falls out of the off the table and it was like he's dead. I'mGong to dog DI CCAN Ini, Tradir Room, stort laughing, because I didn't knowbeforehand they were precking me. Oh that's, great, that's Great Yit wasunbelievbtait was carat time. You'l have to listen to the Fitz PatrickEpisode W, and I because I used to Ryan and I were together in St Louis and Idid a prank on his game pants for six weeks straight every game I made himone size smaller and the and the whole staff went with me. The equipment room-they still said thirty six, but they went, went down one size until they gotdown to a thirty and we told him he kept getting fatterand fanter, becauseI can't give my pits on it was one of the best ones. I've ever done hat s too,very funny. Gus, look at you! Didnt have to play in the Games all Rightwhat,all right, doc, okay, what's really pret! What's last one for you doc,what's the most exciting thing you've done this year outside of work outside of work wow, I G T I got to goto. Let me think about that, because Idon't get that much goodexcitement. Oh,...

I got to go to couple of my CAA sons.College High Hockey Games. But for me that's a lot of fun and a lot of focus,and I get to forget about a little bit of this and a lot of focus on what he'sdoing when he's playing a D and that's a great opportun where's, he where's hego to school. He plays up at Boden College in Man, Yeah Yeah, that's lhike!He can go out in the winter and then skate right in Tho lakes, yeah well,tto them. I think minus ten is fine EA exactly exactly well. Thank you guysfor coming on appreciate you being on the show. Thank you so Mu Eoey. We want to thankyou for Joiing US Today on Huddl up with Guss, where we talked to a widerange of guests about how supports shape to life. As always, I'm joined bymy great friend and Cohouse Dave Hager, and we want you to be able to follow uson all of our social media at how to Wup with Gus, and we really appreciateyou and thank you for your time and listening to our podcast.

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