Jim McMahon: Former NFL Quarterback Battles Dementia, But No Longer Suicidal

Jim McMahon says he’s finally overcome the thoughts of suicide that plagued him in the years after his 15-year NFL career ended.

The former Chicago Bears quarterback is now one of the players who will share in the NFL’s recent $765 million settlement with a group of former players. The money is meant to fund future medical exams and compensate players for the effects of concussions they suffered while playing.

Among the 4,500 former players who served as plaintiffs were at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who killed himself last year.

Many of the players, including Jim McMahon, have suffered physical and neurological problems from untreated concussions. The suit alleged that the NFL kept from players the true risks of concussion, allowing and even promoting rough play in order to maintain is image.

“Players for decades were suffering severe repercussions of that, and the NFL didn’t address it,” Thomas Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio, a firm that represented several players, told CBS 2. “The NFL is today – by this $765 million proposal – saying, ‘OK, we’re going to start addressing it now.’ It’s too late for Dave Duerson – he’s gone.”

Duerson was a former Bears safety and teammate of McMahon who killed himself in 2011, shooting himself in the chest and requesting to family members that his brain be studied to better learn the effects of concussions.

Jim McMahon said he still suffers sharp pains and dementia, but no longer has lingering thoughts of suicide.

“My head is not full of fluid,” McMahon said. “It’s not pounding. I can actually get up in the morning and walk down the hall and feel good.

Though Jim McMahon said he has no regrets about playing in the NFL, he acknowledges that when he played team doctors were more concerned with helping their teams win that properly treating players. The lawsuit, he hopes, is a step in the right direction.