Former Gopher talks about concussions, memory loss

10:57 AM, Oct 26, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Even though he's retired from football, when Brett Favre speaks we tend to listen.

That was the case this week when he told a sports radio talk show in Washington D.C. he doesn't remember certain parts of his life because of the hits he took to his head while playing football.

The last hit was at TCF Bank Stadium in 2010 playing against the Chicago Bears. He never played again.

"This was a little shocking to me that I couldn't remember my daughter play youth soccer. It was just one summer, I think," he said. "That's a little bit scary to me."

Favre took a lot of hits as a quarterback, playing 321 straight games in the National Football League, which is a record.

"It's not a surprise to me. It's something that I live," said Ben Utecht about Favre's memory lapses.

Utecht helped the Indianapolis Colts win a Super Bowl Championship as tight end and played college football for the University of Minnesota.

He was forced to give up the game after he suffered a career-ending concussion in 2009, one of many over the years.

"It's something that truly affects you as a person," he said.

So much so, he tells KARE 11 he has memory loss too, including not remembering going to a friend's wedding.

"I was a groomsman in the wedding. I sang in the wedding. And I have no memory of it to this day. Even looking at the pictures," he said.

He worries about future memory loss and what it may mean for his family.

"It is not so much scary for me, but my wife and three daughters," he said. "Hopefully getting out of the NFL a little early will save me from some of that."

But he and others know this isn't just a football thing.

Former U of M wrestler Greg Nelson owns Minnesota Martial Arts Academy in Brooklyn Center.

"Any sport where there is potential for impact, you get hit and you can get a concussion," said Nelson.

He says a lot more is known about concussions and even the stigma seems to have been removed, at least in Mixed Martial Arts.

"We never talked about it. It was shunned initially," he recalled.

And although the dangers of concussions are discussed a lot more, Utecht believes more research needs to be done.

"And hopefully what we're going to find in the next five to 10 years is serious answers about what we can do," he said.

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