Former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer survived a suicide attempt on Tuesday night, NBC News reports.
Police discovered him in a Los Angeles-area motel with a gunshot wound they described as “not life-threatening,” according to NBC News. Marshawn Kramer, the quarterback's former wife, was told by his sister that the injury was more serious than the police had described.
Marshawn told NBC News that Kramer's injury was a result of a suicide attempt that she believes was fueled by depression stemming from his time in the league.
“He is a very amazing man, a beautiful soul, but he has suffered depression since he was with the Bears,” Marshawn told NBC News. “I can promise you he is not the same man I married.”
“I know Erik and I would still be together if not for his football injury,” she told NBC. The couple divorced in 2010 after 20 years of marriage because of problems caused by Erik's depression, Marshawn said.
Dillon Kramer, Erik and Marshawn's 17-year-old son, also believes his father's brain was damaged because of football. Dillon's brother, Griffen, was an 18-year-old high school quarterback when he died of a drug overdose in 2011.
“He's such a good dad and he would not do this to his son,” she said, according to NBC News. “This is brain injury.”
The NFL has been mired in controversy regarding the dangers of repeated head trauma sustained while playing football. More than 4,500 former players filed a class action suit against the NFL in 2014, citing improper handling of concussions. On Monday, former players who oppose the potential $1 billion settlement filed appeals, and arguments on the case could continue this fall.
Kramer, 50, set two single-season passing records with the Bears in 1995 for his 29 touchdown passes and 3,838 passing yards. He led the Lions to the postseason twice, in 1991 and 1993, and played one postseason game with the Bears in 1994. He recorded 92 touchdown passes and went 31–36 as a starter over his career.
- Erin Flynn