Herrod led the Colts defense in tackling for seven seasons before he retired, but at the age of 46 he’s found that those years of heavy-hitting have done a great deal of damage to his body. He suffers from migraines, sleep issues, sensitivity to light, mood swings, and memory loss. And he’s one of 136 former Colts suing — others include Eric Dickerson, Jack Trudeau, and Ben Utecht.
The NFL is hoping to have the lawsuits, which have been consolidated into one case, dismissed at the end of August and argues that they have not done any wrong.
Perhaps not, but it is clear a large number of players are suffering a great deal.
According to Herrod, he was never diagnosed with a concussion and that whenever he got a hit, they called it a “ding”. He got dinged so often that he kept an ammonia capsule with him on the field to sniff to keep him awake after a hit. Players fear for their jobs and so they stay in regardless of how hard they were hit.
Several former NFL players like Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling have committed suicide in the last few years and donated their brains to Boston University for research. BU has found that they have a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition caused by repeated concussions.
Herrod volunteers as a research subject for those same BU researchers working on CTE. While they can only diagnose it with a posthumous brain tissue examination, Herrod is doing cognitive tests for them to see if they can find a way to diagnose it when someone is still alive.
Concussions aren’t the only longterm damage Herrod must deal with. He also has arthritis and had countless surgeries to repair fingers, wrists, shoulders, knees, toes, and more.