We’re in an era where people are being encouraged to open up more on their mental health issues, trying to stress important messages that they aren’t alone and that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Many high-profile athletes have courageously openly discussed their mental health struggles. Just because they are rich, famous and loved by millions, it doesn’t at all mean that they’re different from the rest of us. A lot of them endure mental health problems as well, and speaking up together can only help fight the stigma.
Veteran Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Chris Hubbard has bravely discussed his experiences with mental health problems on several occasions. The 31-year-old Hubbard is entering his ninth NFL season, and his fifth with the Browns.
Mobile and online sports betting is expected to launch in The Buckeye State by early January next year. This would include the Caesars Ohio sportsbook that would likely offer new customers a risk-free bet upon signing up.
Through Caesars Ohio, customers would be able to place all sorts of different wagers, including futures, prop bets, over/under totals and more. If the Browns and/or Cincinnati Bengals make the postseason, NFL fans in Ohio will have the option to place wagers on their football teams.
Weeks into his tenure with the Browns, Hubbard detailed the mental health struggles he endured as he tried getting used to a new team and football environment.
“The whole free agency change coming from Pitt (Pittsburgh) to now a new team, I don’t know anybody,” Hubbard said in 2018, per Lauren Brill of News 5 Cleveland. “Then being offered that amount of money, being in that spotlight. I have never had that kind of money at all, never seen those kinds of numbers. So that is a big jump for you and it kind of brings out people out of the neck of the woods for plenty of different things.”
Hubbard also talked about the physical and emotional tolls that football can take on the human body.
“The toll that goes on your body and the amount of time you spend in meetings and training; it is very physical and you have to get your mind ready for that…You’re not eating, you are not sleeping.”
Hubbard also encouraged people to not “be scared of what you are going through”, adding that “someone needs to hear what you’re going through.”
Earlier this offseason, Hubbard discussed some of his personal life tragedies, via Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. Hubbard experienced a bout with depression after his grandfather, Jimmy Myers, succumbed to prostate cancer.
Hubbard was also very close to his cousin, Shannon Fields, who was murdered at a club in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 19. Hubbard was 21 years of age at the time of the killing.
As noted in the article by Ridenour, Hubbard goes to therapy and endures walks through nature to cope with his struggles. Hubbard also runs the Overcoming Together Foundation, with the goal of helping others work together in dealing with mental health struggles.
Last season, Philadelphia Eagles stalwart offensive lineman Lane Johnson missed three games to deal with mental health issues. The Super Bowl 52 champion detailed his struggles in a statement shared on social media, and Johnson too stressed the message of “You are not alone.”
Concussions & CTE Linked To Anxiety, Depression & More
Over the past half-decade or so, the NFL has been under the spotlight in regards to mental health-related issues. The staggering amount of concussions is a greater concern than ever before, especially now that we know a lot more about the link between American football and Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death. Anxiety, depression and mood swings were reported as common factors for multiple former NFL players and professional athletes before their tragic passings.
Former Denver Broncos superstar wide receiver Demaryius Thomas passed away on Dec. 9 last year at the age of 33 (he would’ve turned 34 on the 25th). It was later announced that Thomas had suffered from CTE.
Family members of the Super Bowl 50-winning receiver confirmed that he had been suffering from anxiety and depression before his death. Thomas suffered numerous injuries, including several concussions, throughout his playing career.
Depression, anxiety and mood swings are also frequent reported symptoms in former football players who’ve suffered concussions.
Several notable NFL players decided to retire early due to safety concerns over head-related injuries. This includes former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who walked away from football at the age of 24 following his rookie year. Borland, understandably, wanted to do what was best for his long-term health.
Former Carolina Panthers superstar Luke Kuechly (retired in 2020) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (retired in 2019) also retired in their primes largely due to health concerns.
As the NFL and health experts continue to work on ways to cut back on severe head/brain-related injuries, there is one encouraging trend: The amount of confirmed concussions (preseason and regular season) has dropped considerably going back to 2015.
Hopefully with more knowledge towards these issues, and with rapid advancements towards science and health-related technology, there will be more effective ways to treat and avoid concussions long-term.