Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar talks about his head trauma during news conference
Tina Kaufmann, newsnet5.com , Connor Kiesel, newsnet5.com
3:19 PM, Jan 10, 2013
5:34 PM, Jan 10, 2013
CLEVELAND - Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar talked to the media about having more than a dozen concussions, always keeping smelling salts with him, and how his "head trauma" has impacted his life.
During a Thursday afternoon news conference, Kosar, alongside his doctor, Rick Sponaugle, said his short-term and long-term memory has stayed in tact. However, Kosar has experienced buzzing and ringing symptoms due to brain trauma from playing football.
But Dr. Sponaugle said Kosar's head issues -- and his speech -- have improved since getting treatments.
Kosar has met with Dr. Sponaugle for the past 15 days, two hours each day, and feels his "head trauma complications are improving."
The 49-year-old Kosar tweeted Wednesday: "Wow watching Outside The Lines on ESPN about Jr Seau,Jim McMahon,Dave Duerson!the Effects of Concussions! It's what I Have to Talk about" and "I also have to start helping X players&people who R suffering&lost hope with Bleeding,brain trauma&concussions!there is HOPE"
Dr. Sponaugle said Kosar's injury to the frontal lobe of his brain can cause depression and many NFL players experience that type of injury.
The former Cleveland Browns quarterback said he wants to help other players who are suffering from brain trauma.
"There's still hope," Kosar said.
Kosar wants to start the Bernie Kosar Foundation again with area restaurants, offering gift cards to benefit the foundation.
Thousands of lawsuits from former players accusing the NFL of hiding information that connects head injuries to further brain damage and illness were consolidated into one major one.
Last year, former Bears player Dave Duerson shot himself in the chest and left behind notes telling his family to donate his brain for research. Scientists at Boston University's School of Medicine found he had "moderately advanced" brain damage and CTE related to blows to the head.
Boston University's researchers reported last month that 34 former pro players and 9 who solely played college football had CTE.
Former Falcons safety Ray Easterling was one of those. Easterling's wife, Mary Ann, said he suffered from dementia, depression and insomnia after his playing career. He committed suicide at the age of 62 in April.
Head trauma continues to be an issue among current players.
This season, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was forced to miss time after suffering a concussion. When he was ready to return, he no longer had his starting job.
"I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion," Smith said,
The Browns have been in this firestorm too. In a 2011 game against the Steelers, Colt McCoy was not properly checked for a concussion after being illegally hit by James Harrison and was put back on the field. It prompted the NFL to assign concussion-specific trainers to each team's sideline.
"You want to do anything to stay in the game, especially if you're a borderline type of guy,'' Giants receiver Domenik Hixon told Newsday about concussions. "You definitely try to hide it."
Last September, the NFL donated $30 million to the National Institutes of Health to fund medical research and understanding of brain injuries. It was the NFL's largest donation to any organization in its history.
Kosar is a native of Youngstown. He played for the Browns from 1985-1993 and was in the league for 12 seasons.