Do you remember Keana McMahon? I have written about her once before. She is the former wife of deceased Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, who met a very sad and frightening end. You can read about his last day online with a simple internet search, but it was not understood until after his brain was studied that he was dealing with the effects of CTE.
McMahon, who was married to Strzelczyk for eight years, and watched him gradually deteriorate, initially believed that it was a result of alcoholism, which he assumed that he had inherited from his father, but she realized immediately what was going on after his brain was studied.
She has become an outspoken critic of the game in the years since then, and more specifically the NFL and how they have handled issues of player safety and cognitive health. I wrote about an interview that she gave back in May in which she had some very harsh words for those who take the issue lightly.
She recently was given a new target of her ire when Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams made some rather foolish comments about concussions. He said something to the effect that he felt he spoke for many players when talking about his love for the game, and that he considers the football field the perfect place to die. This was in response to a question about CTE and making the game safer.
“I don’t even know what to say”, McMahon began in her response. “This guy doesn’t know what’s coming down the pipeline. He has no idea what dealing with someone who has CTE is like”. In the interview that I mentioned previously, she said that she is in contact with many current and former players, or their spouses, who worry greatly about their future cognitive health.
“I bet my kids would want their father here”, she said. “I know in my heart of hearts that Justin would have wanted to see his daughter get married someday or see his son graduate from college, not dying on a football field. To me [Adams] is****ing on Justin’s grave”.
But it wasn’t just her. Others spoke out as well, including a representative of the family of Dave Duerson, a former player who killed himself by shooting himself in the chest, rather than the head, to preserve his brain to study it for CTE.
The representative remarked that Adams made a “terrible statement” that sends the exact wrong message that the game should be portraying today, and frankly I find that hard to argue against. Just after the published findings of 90 percent of donated brains from all levels of football showing signs of CTE.