Jim McMahon is just 54, but suffers from dementia so severe that sometimes he forgets how to get back to his home after a day of running errands.
The former NFL quarterback said since ending his career he has suffered drastic health effects including debilitating migraines.
The conditions got so bad that McMahon said he even thought about taking his life.
"I am glad I don't have any weapons in my house or else I am pretty sure I wouldn't be here," McMahon said. "It got to be that bad."
Jim McMahon has been increasingly vocal about the health effects he suffered from playing football, at the same time that the medical consequences of repeated concussions are coming to light. On the heels of a settlement from the NFL to former players, McMahon has become something of an unofficial spokesman for the players who claim that the league pushed them to play and concealed the true danger of concussions.
McMahon is involved in a new lawsuit accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics that allowed players to stay on the field despite serious injuries.
At a session with reporters this week, just before he was honored by the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston University-based group that has been studying the effects of brain trauma, McMahon revealed the extent of his struggles.
He also called out the NFL for profiting off the sacrifices made by these players.
"The NFL continues to make billions and billions of dollars every year," McMahon said. "And some of these guys are homeless. They don't know who they are, and they were the ones who built this brand to where it's at."
McMahon is not the only player to struggle with suicidal thoughts. Several former players have taken their lives, including former San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, and many of those have been linked to ongoing symptoms from concussions.
"I can see how some of these guys have ended their lives, because of the pain," McMahon said.
Jim McMahon has been receiving a form of treatment that realigns his neck every few months, alleviating some of the constant pain he feels, but said his pain and dementia will be an ongoing struggle.