Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon is dealing with the early stages of dementia and has previously said he'd play baseball, not football, if he could take a mulligan on his sports career. It's quite the sad tale of an NFL health era hopefully gone by but there's some good news: McMahon said Friday he's no longer contemplating suicide.
McMahon, appearing on the Dan Patrick Show, spoke of his mental-health issues and said he's still dealing with the dementia but now he doesn't "have the thoughts of killing myself."
"I still have the dementia," McMahon said. "I don't have the sharp pains. I don't have the thoughts of killing myself."
Obviously it's no good that McMahon is still struggling, but it's certainly better than he's able to actually move forward and remain OK with being alive. He credits the removal of a blockage in his neck that was causing spinal fluid to leak into his brain.
"My head is not full of fluid," McMahon said. "It's not pounding. I can actually get up in the morning and walk down the hall and feel good."
McMahon also spoke about Thursday's $765 million concussion lawsuit settlement, saying, via Pro Football Talk, that a lot of the players involved in the lawsuit are "worse off" than he is and need the relief that accompanies the settlement.
"All these guys who are suffering along with me are going to get some relief," McMahon said. "A lot of these guys are a lot worse off than I am."
In that sense, McMahon believes the settlement -- widely panned for the relatively small amount of money received by the players -- was a good thing. It money now for the players who need it. 20 years from now (or whenever the legal process actually played out) that cash might well be irrelevant.
That doesn't mean McMahon thinks all is forgiven -- he noted to Patrick that NFL team doctors were not looking out for the "best interests" of players in years gone by.
“I don't think they were looking out for our best interests, that's for sure,” McMahon said of team doctors.
The most important thing from the concussion lawsuit is getting help to the players who are suffering. But hopefully it also serves as a mile marker for a culture change in football, where we don't see players suffering 20 years removed from the game the way McMahon is now.