Former NFL Quarterback Erik Kramer attempted to end his life at a motel in Calabasas, California, on Tuesday night. Calabasas is about 30 miles from Los Angeles, in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley.
Authorities confirmed that Kramer was found with self-inflicted gunshot wounds on his body, but reports don’t specify where the wounds were found. The wounds were said to be non-life-threatening. However, Kramer’s sister has stated that her brother’s injury was worse than the authorities stated, and that it could possibly be life-threatening.
Erik Kramer, 50, now retired, played football in the NFL from 1987-1999. In 1995, when he played for the Chicago Bears, he led the team with 29 touchdowns and a 9-7 win/loss record. He had another winning season with the Detroit Lions in 1991, with a 12-4 record. Kramer’s last season in the NFL was with the Chargers in 1999.
According to Kramer’s wife, after he retired, he suffered from depression.
Marshawn, Kramer’s ex-wife, said that he has been suffering from depression for many years. Marshawn also stated that they were married for over 20 years and would probably still be together if not for football. The two separated, and then divorced in 2010, after bouts with his depression.
“I know Erik and I would still be together if not for his football injury,” she said. “He is a very amazing man, a beautiful soul, but he has suffered depression since he was with the Bears,” Marshawn Kramer said in a telephone interview. “I can promise you he is not the same man I married.”
Kramer had more heartbreak a year after he and Marshawn divorced. Their oldest son, Griffen, 18, died due to a heroin overdose. The couple has another son, 17, named Dillon.
After retiring from football, Kramer started a sports broadcasting career and currently broadcasts for the Chicago Bears.
Is post football depression real? Does it affect a lot of players?
Asked how many retirees suffer from depression, former Packers offensive lineman Aaron Taylor says: “It’d be easier to start with which ones do NOT have depression. Observationally, it’s a significant percentage. It varies by degree, obviously, but everyone struggles.”
According to the ESPN website, many athletes don’t think about or prepare for what comes after football. Most of the players have dedicated their whole lives to the game of football and they don’t want to face that their football career may end, sometimes abruptly or much earlier than they had planned.
New Orleans Saints tight end Eddie “Boo” Williams knows what post-football depression is firsthand.
“Depression is real,” he says. “Guys are out there thinking about killing themselves every day. I mean, not too long ago I reached out to one of my friends, a former teammate, just to reach out, just to check on him and see how he was doing. He called me back and told me that God must’ve made me call him. I asked him why, and the answer was that he was sitting down with a.45 in his lap, contemplating blowing his brains out. That just made me cringe, because I was at that point one time. I know what he was feeling. Like I said, I know what Junior Seau went through, because I was there mentally. I was there. And it’s just a part of the game that you wish that wasn’t there.”
Hopefully, Kramer’s recovery will be a full and quick recovery.
[Image by the NFL]