Ben Utecht was part of the Indianapolis Colts' 2006 Super Bowl team and later spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals before a concussion ended his playing career in 2009.
Now, Utecht tells USA Today that he suffers from lapses in his memory as a result of five concussions suffered between his time in college at the University of Minnesota and the NFL.
“Will I experience early-onset dementia in my 50s? Will I experience more issues with amnesia or headaches or behavioral changes? All of these things are consequences of brain injury. I think now that I'm aware of them — especially now that I'm the father of three beautiful little girls — it's definitely in my heart and on my mind. I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't.”
Utetcht now has a vastly different career from football, as he is a professional singer currently on a 32-city tour of A Christmas Celebration.
Utecht said he could not recall having attended a friend's wedding, even though he was part of the wedding party, and has had other memory issues as well. He said he probably would have quit playing football sooner had he known the potential long-term ramifications of his concussions.
“From my shoes now, if someone had told me, 'Hey, once you've had three, your chances of more (concussions) go up exponentially,' you've got to believe I would have had a serious conversation,” Utecht said. “A concussion is not like a shoulder injury or a knee injury. Those are things that heal. This is your personality. It's your character. It's your soul.”
Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com