Former players talk about head injuries in football

January 14, 2013 6:03:01 PM PST
Two local ex-football players have a message for parents of kids about head injuries in sports. Don't take them lightly.

Mike Shumann and Cheryl Jennings interviewed former 49ers Ben Lynch and former Oakland Raiders Jarrod Cooper for this weekend's Beyond the Headlines.

They say their head injuries from football caused dangerous depression and brain damage. Now they're trying to save others from a terrible fate.

"Junior Seau is a great example, he played golf tournament at a celebrity event. Great mood. Two weeks later he kills himself. Were you ever at that point when you were that low that suicidal thoughts are part of this? Shumann asked.

"I'm on the good side now, so, i can sit here and tell you, yes," Cooper said.

"At the youth level, I think it's so important that athletes to know what a concussion is, that parents know what a concussion is, coaches and administrators know what one is and also know that that it's not up to a coach, a parent, teammate when to come back to play, but that's a medical decision that has to be made by a qualified doctor," Lynch said.

Beyond the Headlines will air a program on Sunday at 10 a.m. to educate viewers how the football legends are working to make sports safer.

The ex-football players are involved with the California Concussion Coalition.

Cheryl Jennings and Mike Shumann also talked with 13-year-old Brendan O'Neill, the Petaluma pitcher hit in the head by a line drive. He and his dad talk about what happened. Brendan switched sports after he recovered.


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