My book, which released November 15, 2016, is difficult to read and raw in many ways, but I want to put a human face on what can happen to an NFL player and his family long after the cheering has stopped.
When my husband, Grant Feasel, played in the National Football League in the 1980s and early 1990s, we didn't understand that his helmet-to-helmet collisions opened the door to brain trauma that impacted his thought processes, accelerated his physical deterioration, and altered his personality.
Those are important points because the Grant I fell in love with and brought three children into this world with was not the Grant I said goodbye to at the age of fifty-two. My husband was someone I adored and respected, a godly man of character who wanted to be the best at what he did—until he started down a lonely path that ultimately led to his early death and the devastation of our family.
Now that After the Cheering Stops is coming out, I want to raise awareness for parents about the dangers of playing sports that produce concussions. I’m an art teacher at a private Christian school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and each football season, a handful of my middle school students miss up to a week of classroom instruction because of concussions they received while playing organized football and soccer.
While many think that concussions are synonymous with football, the head-butting sport of soccer produces the most concussive events by virtue of its popularity and the fact that both boys and girls play the sport. Lacrosse and ice hockey are other popular sports that produce a high number of concussions.
Finally, I want to make this point: I know that Grant would not want his name to be remembered this way, but I also know that he would want me to warn others about the dangers of concussions and CTE. He always admired the way I could talk to anyone about anything, and he liked me to fill in the gaps for him with groups of people.
I consider After the Cheering Stops to be a continuation of a relationship that started with such promise but ended so tragically.
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