I’ve never lived a day as an adult without the symptoms of #CTE by Tommy Edwards
I never felt fully prepared, informed, and capable of living a life that wasn’t disconnected, dysfunctional. Following the Gator Bowl in 96, I was rapidly spinning downward, disillusioned by constant pressure, manipulation, coercion, and punitive behavioral modifications. I quit going to workouts all together. I also quit attending classes. I would go out and drink at night, come home and sleep as long as I could, wake up, smoke pot, and watch “Apocalypse Now” over and over again for at least a week strait.
In my head I was done! I just couldn’t find the words to tell my parents, coaches, or teammates. I just stepped off the merry go round. I was called to meet with coach Beamer, my dad’s former teammate, at his home in a casual setting. When I told him I was dealing with depression, he said,”The program doesn’t have time for you to be depressed!”
I went to my family Doctor in Radford who prescribed me Zoloft for the depression. In less than a week, the suicidal ideation started. I began sticking a loaded 12 gage in my mouth if I was alone, or shooting a rifle through the screen of my window into the back field if I had a guest. It was not my typical behavior. I was taught to respect firearms and never to shoot inside or in a populated area. It was illegal and foolish. I was shooting into a hillside, but it still scared the shit out of this girl I was friends with. Shit, I decided it was time to call it a night.
Diametrically Opposing Business as Usual, Scapegoat on Me, Set Hut!!
Shortly after I started taking Zoloft, coach Beamer’s secretary called my parents saying Frank and Billy wanted to meet with them at the football office in regards to me and my lack of participation. Beamer sat at his big wooden desk as Billy stood behind him on his right side. My parent had picked me up because it was me they really needed to address. I was an adult, the act of them interacting with my parents from day one was a violation of privacy laws.
We sat down across from them and they started saying, ”We think Tommy is an alcoholic!” Both coaches were notorious drinkers! That first breach of oversight on my official visit echoed through my head, ”did you have fun?” With Billy’s fake smile. What a hypocrite. This guy’s main joke was asking his 4 yo what dad likes to drink. She would say Vodka! Loud! He was always hungover at morning practices. My parents knew them both to drink to excess. We got up without speaking and went upstairs to the NCAA compliance office ask to be released! That afternoon I had three network affiliates in my room off campus essentially holding a press conference to talk about my leaving Tech.
Press Conference a GoGo, Gone Gone, corporate Mind Fuck
More than a bit surreal. As sportscasters and camera men were packing up their gear, I had already loaded my bag into a friend’s car, and we departed for Mardi Gras. I should’ve been excited, but I was enveloped by a cloud of depression. I drink with total disregard for my own health and safety. I got separated from my friends at some point and began talking with these two women. I know I was halfway walking with them to a car, but at some point, I realized I was being carried as my legs stopped working. I vaguely remember being placed into a car, driving somewhere, and being helped into a house. The next thing I knew I was in a cab driving down Canal Street — somebody asking me where I want to be dropped off. As I got out of the cab, confused, and someone handed me parade coins and my swatch. My pockets were turned inside out. The streets were empty, and fear ran through me like a torrent.
- Intro: All-American Touchdown Tommy Edwards Serializes His Story.
- Part 1: Tommy Edwards: All American Exile — Societal and family pressure
- Part 2: Tommy Edwards: A Child Becomes a Legacy — A football legend is born
- Part 3: Tommy Edwards: Manipulation Conspiracy — Grooming Genetics
- Part 4: Tommy Edwards: The Downward Spiral — Brain damage and CTE Symptoms
- Part 5: Tommy Edwards: Welcome to Hell — Science-CTE deniers/Football Traditionalist
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Photo image by Tommy Edwards