Ex-Bears star Jim McMahon explains lawsuit vs. NFL
Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, now suffering from early stages of dementia, has denied that greed and need have driven him and 2,000 other retired players to file a lawsuit against the NFL in connection with concussion-related injuries.
“I’m not in it for the money. This is about raising awareness, whether or not these guys knew back then this was going to happen,” McMahon said during an interview with Fox News.
“The guys that started the lawsuit out…these guys are in dire needs. Both financially and in their health. I didn’t make a lot of money in the ’80s, so you know what these guys made. I’ve never had a job other than the NFL,” he added.
The 53-year-old McMahon spent the first seven years of his career with the Bears and led them to a Super Bowl title in 1985. He later played for the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers in his 14-year career.
McMahon and thousands of retired players have accused the league of concealing the risks of repetitive brain concussions, which they claim resulted to serious diseases later in life.
Dementia is a serious loss of global cognitive ability, including memory, attention, language, and problem solving. It may be a result of a unique global brain injury, damage or disease in the body.
Despite the early onset of dementia, McMahon still clearly remembers one specific incident when he was body slammed by Packers defensive tackle Charles Martin in 1986 that led to a season-ending injury.
“He could have snapped my neck like a chicken bone,” McMahon recalled. “I don’t know how it didn’t break. That’s the last thing I remembered for a while because I was a little dinged on that play. Everybody thought it was my shoulder at the time but it was more my head than shoulder.”
McMahon also complained that team doctors performed just a brief check on him after a tough hit then let him return to the game.
“They’d ask you questions, basic questions. Where are you, what day is it? Stuff like that,” McMahon said. “And if you were able to answer that and seem like you were ok they would let you back in.”
McMahon said contracts back then was mostly incentive, meaning if a player is injured and could not play, then he will not get paid.
“Being injured, if you don’t play, you don’t get paid. If I was able to walk out on that field, I was gonna play,” he said.
McMahon said he if was aware of the dangers of football, he would opted to become baseball player.
“I went to college I played both sports, I would have stuck to that. That was my first love was baseball and had I had a scholarship to play baseball, I probably would have played just baseball. But football paid for everything, it still does,” he said.
McMahon’s former teammate Dave Duerson killed himself after being diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy while Ray Easterling committed suicide after suffering from clinical depression resulting from dementia.
Even with the disease, McMahon has never considered taking his own life. “Those thoughts do not enter my mind at this time, no,” McMahon said.