Many people hear the word “football” and immediately think of positive connotations. Perhaps they nostalgically remember playing in or attending high school football games – or watching professional football on TV with family. For many Americans, football is an essential part of Thanksgiving.
But there is also a dark side of football. And Cyndy Feasel’s After the Cheering Stops: An NFL Wife’s Story of Concussions, Loss, and the Faith That Saw Her Through shows that dark side. It is no secret that many football players suffer from and succumb to chronic traumatic encephalopothy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. Feasel’s husband, Grant, was a football center for the Colts, Vikings, and Seahawks, and he, too, suffered from CTE. He died of liver failure at the age of 52 due to alcoholism, but what really killed him was his CTE. Chronic traumatic encephalopothy had turned him into an extremely different person.
After the Cheering Stops talks about Cyndy’s life with Grant – but it also makes the reader think about the implications of a culture obsessed with football. In 2012, football safety Bernard Pollard said, “I just truly believe, another 20, 30 years — I don’t even think football will even be in existence anymore… We all know what this game is about. We know and understand that it’s a violent sport.”