Thurman Thomas’ football career was glorious, but fear and uncertainty have characterized his post-retirement life.
The Hall of Fame running back revealed Friday he’s dealing with the effects of numerous brain injuries he suffered during his college football and NFL careers, according to the Niagra Falls Review’s Ray Spiteri. Thomas’ ailments include uncontrollable mood swings and an inability to focus for long periods. He fears he could suffer from depression and even suicidal thoughts — a sobering list of symptoms of the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy — in the future.
?Still to this day, I can?t control my mood swings,” Thomas said at the District School Board of Niagra’s International Concussion Summit. “On so many days, I have to apologize to my family for them. I thank God that I have a family that understands the things that I?ve been through over my 13-year (professional) career, and even after my 14 or 15 years that I?ve been retired. They all understand that with my mood swings, sometimes I just can?t help it.?
MRI results revealed Thomas, 49, has a level of brain damage that’s consistent with someone who played football for decades but would be unfathomable for most everyday people.
“He said the doctor told him the frontal lobe of his brain was ‘similar to someone who has fallen off the top of a house, on to the front of his head, or going through a windshield of a car several times,'” Spiteri wrote. “He said ‘decent … for an NFL football player who had just played in the National Football League for 13 years. Not great, but decent.’?
Thomas added his condition is deteriorating over time, and he expects it to continue to do so.
?It hasn?t gotten any better,” he said. “It?s getting worse.?
The former Oklahoma State and Buffalo Bills star is paying the heaviest of prices for living out his childhood dreams.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images