Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas opened up publicly for the first time about the concussions-related issues he has suffered from since his retirement, according to the Niagara Falls Review.
Speaking at a concussion summit in Niagara Falls, Thomas said that he has dealt with serious mood swings since he stepped away from the game.
“When I started playing football as a little kid, the last thing on my mind was, ‘will I be able to walk when I’m 50? Will I be able to keep a train of thought when I’m 45? When I’m 50, will I suffer from uncontrollable mood swings? And even worse, will someday I be so depressed that I would take my own life?’” he said.
Thomas, who turns 50 next month, said that the mood swings have also taken a toll on his family.
“Still to this day, I can't control my mood swings," he said. “On so many days, I have to apologize to my family for them. I thank God that I have a family that understands the things that I've been through over my 13-year [professional] career, and even after my 14 or 15 years that I've been retired. They all understand that with my mood swings, sometimes I just can't help it.”
Thomas played 13 NFL seasons, 12 of those with the Buffalo Bills. He retired in 2000 as a five-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
After his induction, Thomas had an MRI that revealed the frontal lobe of his brain had similar amount of damage as someone who has fallen off a house.
“One thing that I realized is that discussing the effects of concussions and the reality of the situation doesn't make me less of a man, less tough, less loyal to the National Football League, a less love for the game,” he said. “All it means is that I'm not an ignorant fool, and that I don't ignore factual evidence that this is happening to not only football players, but [other athletes].”