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And Even MORE Benefits!

Jan 23, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: Well, you know it’s definitely Super Bowl time when the NFL keeps trying to roll out as many new PR programs as they can leading up to the big game. And by now, most of you retired players have received the fancy new announcement for the NFL’s Training for Life program. A very expensive-looking package with a personal invitation from Troy Vincent (wonder how much they spent on that?). We thought there were Super Bowl tickets enclosed so Dave could go to that Free Health Screening Program they announced last week. Here’s that fancy envelope and a personal note from Troy Vincent! Click on the thumbnails to enlarge for your entertainment pleasure!
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Envelope Front  Envelope Back
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Troy Vincent Invite NFL Q5
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Retired Bronco Larry Kaminski didn’t waste any time – or mince any words – in sending a response to Troy Vincent back at the NFL’s Player Engagement Dept.:
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Larry Kaminski at Home
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Troy Vincent
NFL Player Engagement
345 Park Ave
New York, NY 10154
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Troy:
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I am in receipt of your mailing called TRAINING FOR LIFE. I have to say it gave me quite the chuckle. I know in your heart, the reputation of the NFL is dear to you but, my friend – face the facts.
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I am 68 now and have had my chance to adjust to post-football life. I did it well as a result of a great education experience at Purdue University. Following my retirement (I did not get cut or waived) in 1973, I worked to obtain a beverage distributorship in NW Colorado. I was successful in the bid and still consult after passing my controlling shares to my sons. Why would I do that, you ask? In the late 1990′s I began experiencing a personality change. My patience and temperament were getting to a point of chaos. I had a busy mind that would not shut off so sleep was hard to come by. I also started to get negative thoughts about anything and everything and my anger was hard to contain. It was then that I thought of suicide several times. Here I was with three great sons and a wonderful wife but just plain angry, upset and confused. I was self-medicating, fighting and acting like a real danger to others.
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I took advantage of the program that the Broncos had for counseling. But no one could really figure it out so I was eventually forced to resign my position and get away to a new area where I could afford insurance and get myself isolated. My sons had enough by then and I was a detriment to a business that I’d started and grown from $250,000 a year to $12 million a year. So I was eventually asked to move on and retire from the business.
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All of a sudden, I hear about possible head injury from the 8 years I played in the NFL. So I scheduled an appointment with the SSA to get examined. It was agreed that I had issues such as personality change, osteoarthritis, poorly-healed bones from misdiagnoses and healing effects from non-prescribed steroids by the team. I was eventually put on SSA disability which saved me a substantial amount of money because my catastrophic insurance was really expensive. I also tried to get the NFL disability committee to examine me but I was considered too old and had already been out of the game for more than 15 years. I was really surprised because it had been 40 years and this concept of poor medical care and head injury was just being discovered. So of course, I was denied NFL disability.
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I have records showing brain damage from the Amen Clinic. I have records showing personality change from the California Work comp examiners. It’s all on the record.
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And now I get a letter that wants me to be prepared for my post-career. I think you get my point. You people prevented me from getting disability; I had to go to Medicare to get care and now the NFL says that if I continue down this path and eventually get dementia or some other debilitating disease, I might qualify for the 88 Plan. This is the most confusing issue as of yet. You say I cannot get NFL disability but if I go bonkers, then you’ll help pay for my hospitalization? Did the league ever hear of preventive medicine or maintenance? Being a white, Eastern European guy, I can see where I’m just an old guy who deserves nothing. Hell, we’re men who got an education and should make our own way. Drew Brees, the canonized Saint, says that guys like Kaminski made poor investments, drank out of control and drugged, and got caught up in the divorce-and-too–many-kids culture so we owe him nothing. What a narcissistic remark.
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I do appreciate your positive efforts for all the guys playing now. But Troy, you forgot about the guys who made it possible for you to sit in that nice office overlooking the city carrying the power of the NFL. We played for a few thousand dollars, got poor care and have been thrown into the trash by you and the owners.
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Larry Kaminski BroncosI wish you the best of success. I will continue to take my meds, isolate myself and avoid anger. My brain will not repair itself or what the steroids caused but hell, I’m just one more throwaway former NFL player.
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Larry Kaminski
Denver Broncos 1966 – 1973
NFL Man of Year elect 1972 – 1973
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11 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dave Pear
    January 23rd, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Dave Pear

    Junior Seau’s whole family joined the concussion lawsuits against the NFL for the concussion cover up along with the flimsy helmets from Riddell and NFL Films for glorifying brutal hits prior to 2010 that are now illegal.

    Click here: Seau’s family sues NFL over brain injuries

  2. Ron Pritchard
    January 23rd, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Ron Pritchard Bengals

    Thank you, Larry, for your comments toward this latest attempt by the NFL to show their great concern for its players. Once again this divides our football family by only reaching out to all the players since 1993! What about the pre-93 guys – don’t we count? Aren’t our brains as important as the ones that they’re reaching out to? Aren’t our families deserving of some help for the failing warriors that they care for each and every day because of brain damage from their careers in the NFL?

    I did some brain mapping about two years ago and the results are in: I have severe brain damage according to the report of my mapping. It’s only slight severe brain damage so far but it’s slight SEVERE brain damage! The gentleman who gave me the brain mapping told me that I should not think that just because it was judged ‘slight’ brain damage that it was a good thing.

    In fact, the point was that I do have severe brain damage!! What’s scary for those of us who are in this condition is “What’s the end game?” Well, I don’t know but I do know that it’s morally and ethically right for our former NFL owners to step up and be big boys with some help!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  3. Ron Pritchard
    January 24th, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Ron Pritchard

    Last night, I made some comments on Larry K. letter to Troy Vincent of the NFLPA and the new NFL Neuro-Cognitive Benefits offered to all post-93′ers, leaving out all pre-93 former players. In that comment, I mentioned the fact there’s an endgame that will play itself out over the years for those how have brain damage from playing football at its highest level – the NFL!

    Well, this morning I felt a need to go a bit further about this “endgame.” When our brain-damaged football brothers choose to take their lives it was NOT – I can assure you – because they did not want to live! What I believe is they surely wanted to live but without the pain of living the way they had to live with this horrible CTE.

    I can assure those of you who have struggled with depression and despair that suicide can seem very attractive. You might say, “What in the world could be so attractive about losing your life?” I will answer you in one word: “Relief.” Unless you have known despair and hopelessness yourself, suicide seems insane. IT IS EXACTLY THAT! It’s my belief that at the time they killed themselves, our brothers were truly insane! If this brain damage they all had was caused by playing in the NFL, then I beg of you NFL owners: Please help these men who are still alive with their brain damage issues.

    Some of you reading this blog may think it is not very manly to beg for help. I disagree. I think if my begging will help the whole brotherhood of current and former players in this arena, then I will lower my false and destructive pride and beg! We as former players must get over ourselves and do whatever is necessary to stop this craziness of “life-taking” by our brothers. This “end game” must stop and stop now! I am sure that someone from the NFL is reading these blogs so I BEG you to help and help now before our next headlines will be about another suicide of an NFL current or former player!

    In closing, I know it’s not wrong if we can’t save everyone. And I am speaking to the NFL owners as well as all former and current players. But it’s absolutely wrong if we do not try!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  4. Jay Brophy
    January 24th, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Jay Brophy

    Thank you, Larry Kaminski, for saying what I feel but don’t think I could write down on paper!

    I was just an Average Joe ball player (Dolphins 84-86, Jets 87) who was happy to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL. Now with my hips being replaced and multiple other injuries including a diagnosis from a neuropsychologist of frontal lobe and right-side brain damage, I struggle with the insomnia, mood swings, temper and short-term memories that keep me guessing on what-comes-next. I try to stay positive and active, wondering if I even count as an NFL retiree?

    I received my NFL disability but can’t even afford to at least try any new ground-breaking treatment I’ve recently read about. I’m not begging for anything but it would be nice to know there was hope of things getting better for my wife and kids’ sake.

    Jay Brophy
    Miami Dolphins, New York Jets
    1985 – 1987

  5. George Visger
    January 24th, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    George Visger Brain Scans

    Larry and Ron,

    I could not agree with you more!

    My tenure in the NFL was so brief I would not even consider it a “career.” Nonetheless, as short as it was, the damage my work injuries have caused me and my family these last 32 years have been immeasurable.

    How do you place a cost on no memory for an entire year plus after 2 brain surgeries in 1982?

    How do you compensate someone like my brother for his pain and suffering when he was forced to make a life & death decision regarding putting me in a hospital for brain surgery in Mexico, or risk me dying on the plane home from our fishing trip? He literally could not talk about that trip whenever I laughingly suggested we head south to hit the yellowtail run.

    What is value of months and months of erased memories after each of my 9 brain surgeries?

    What is the value of all the kids’ games, shows and time we’ve spent together these last 18 years that I have no recollection of? Put a price on that NFL, NFLPA, Troy, Roger – anyone?

    How about all the time I’ve spent with my wife which is gone? It became a joke in our family years ago whenever I brought up going to a movie I wanted to see. Kristi would reply, “We’ve already seen it,” and I ask, “Did I like it?”

    I was banished from renting movies over 15(?) years ago after renting some 3 and 4 times stating, “Hey, I’ve always wanted to see this.” I would be happy to just have the NFL reimburse me for all the videos I needlessly rented. The 50 First Dates thing has been my life for 32 years.

    What is the price of the damage my family has suffered due to my short term memory issues, anger management problems and poor judgement with finances etc.? We would probably still be in our house we lost 18 months ago had I been able to make better decisions.

    My wife and kids have suffered from stomach issues and ulcers for years due to worrying about “who” was coming home. Unbeknownst to me they would talk about who would walk in the door, “The Gentle Giant” or “Maxium George.” Hey De, Roger, Troy – any of you have 9-year old kids developing ulcers?

    How about unable to sleep for up to 4 nights straight due to “not being able to shut thoughts off,” as Larry mentioned? This is a sign of inflammation of the neurons, a precursor to CTE. I’m lucky to get 4 – 5 hrs of disjunct sleep each night. A couple (?) years ago I underwent 3 (!!) sleep apnea tests. After each test, I was told they could not get enough data as I never really slept enough. I finally gave up. Sleep apnea causes additional brain damage due to lack of oxygen when you quit breathing. That’s probably the least of my worries.

    How much is my NFL-caused brain damage worth when I was on 4 different dementia medicines at once, plus anti-seizure meds at age 52, and still working at a wildlife biologist/environmental consultant? I would work 14 – 18 hour days just to accomplish what a normal human being would do in 8 – 10. Due to my short-term memory issues, I get distracted easily by background noise, cars driving by, and people talking in another room etc. I’m forced to start over repeatedly, re-read, and double- and triple-check all my work when preparing environmental documents.

    What is the value of fuel I’ve needlessly wasted over the years driving around areas I was familiar with (such as my kids’ schools), trying to see something I could remember which would help me find the place?

    To this day, when Jack or Amanda have basketball games, Kristi may tell me it’s at Lyman Gilmore school. I’ll ask, “Is that the one behind Safeway? No, its the one by the park!” I’ve been there 100′s of times and it’s only a mile or so from the house (the house we HAD.)

    In February, I finally filed for disability after we lost the house, as it was taking too much of a toll trying to function as a biologist. After a multitude of several-hour tests I was rated at 100% disabled (which I do not agree with BTW) due to frontal lobe dementia and short-term memory issues.

    What is the value of my wife sleeping on the couch at her Mom’s house, my son on an air bed in her living room, my daughter in the back room and me sleeping on the floor at the Hyperbaric Oxygen clinic since last February when my work dried up?

    What is the value to only see your children one hour a night (if I’m lucky), after they make the 75-minute commute home after basketball practice each night?

    How much is it worth to my wife to get up at 4:30 a.m. each day, get herself and the kids ready, on the road at 5:45 a.m. to get Amanda to school by 7:00? THEN she goes and teaches all day and retraces her steps hoping to get everyone in bed by 8 each night. I’m unable to help due to a doctor stating 2+ years ago I could not drive with the kids in the car due to distractions.

    To the De Smith’s, Roger Goodell’s – and surprisingly the Troy Vincent’s – the terms tau protein, TBI, CTE, early onset dementia and Alzheimers are just nothing but terms. To many of us, it defines our lives.

    So what is that worth?

    I’ll tell you what it’s worth to me according to the NFL:

    ZILCH – I qualify for ZERO benefits.

    George Visger

  6. Mark Bryant
    January 24th, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Mark Bryant

    Our fund, named in honor of former NFL star Dave Duerson, is providing impact testing for our local high school athletes and cheerleaders in David’s hometown of Muncie, Indiana.

    So far, since our fund’s inception in 2012, we have provided baseline testing for over 300 of our area children.

    Mark Bryant
    President
    Dave Duerson Athletic Safety Fund

  7. Tom Beer
    January 24th, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Tom Beer

    Kudos to my old Bronco teammate Larry Kaminski! One tough SOB who was a perennial starter on the O line playing center and weighing around 245 pounds soaking wet. With the old school Lou Saban as our head coach, we hit and we were in pads every day. I can still see Larry absorbing head blows and slaps from teammates Dave Costa, Paul Smith, Rich Jackson and Rex Mirich, not to mention Bull-in-the-Ring and 7-on-7 blocking drills to warm up. And this was just at daily practice.

    On Sundays, LK had to compete against the likes of Curly Culp, Elvin Bethea, Buck Buchanan, Dan Birdwell, Ben Davidson,Houston Antwine, Ron McDole etc. Hall-of-Famers and tough adversaries. Like many of us who played in the 60′s and 70′s, our physical disabilities today were predicated on the abuse our bodies absorbed back then in the gladiator-like game that was NFL football. How many players had their careers cut short due to lax rules that allowed clipping at the line of scrimmage for O linemen, crackback blocking, headslaps, head butts and clothesline tackling, bump and run muggings by DB’s, wedge busting feet first, etc. Surviving back then was a year-to-year struggle. Indeed, we were the cannon fodder that led to the current state that the multi-billion dollar money machine the NFL is today.

    How many of us would like to play today with all the perks current players benefit from including multi-million dollar contracts and lucrative benefit packages and pensions, country club like two-day Summer Camp, minimal practices in full pads, mandatory days off during bye weeks, etc. Troy Vincent has no clue as to what the Kaminski’s, Pritchard’s, Visger’s and Pear’s endured playing in a league that could only be described as open season on permanent injury.

    Like you, Kaminsk, I tossed my Training For Life brochure into the recycling bin. We have earned more than an invitation to attend a symposium that will not benefit us one headslap!!!

    Tom Beer
    Denver Broncos, New England Patriots
    1967 – 1973

  8. Jef Taylor
    January 25th, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Jef Taylor

    The NFL needs to come clean with the plight of the pre-1993 NFL’ers. Abner Haynes used to say this in his Facebook comments and I wrote a story that the NFL just waits for its former players to die.

    That always struck a nerve being an avid fan and historian how the NFL turns its backs on those who paved the way for millions to enjoy the game as it is today. Ever since watching the Johnny Unitas story in 1999, I have been cognizant as a fan and historian ever since.

    I would like to lend a hand when I can. I do have a few ideas as well.

    Jef Taylor

  9. Henry Bradley
    January 26th, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Henry Bradley

    I am encouraged that so many have come forward about the brain injury situation. I lived in my own private hell for so many years, because I was ashamed to share it with anyone.

    Although I did eventually get help, my situation started in 1984 and I have been medicated since. Before my medication was changed, I became violent and was arrested and it cost me over $30,000!

    Why am I paying for something that was caused by football?

    Henry Bradley
    Cleveland Browns
    1979 – 1983

  10. Larry Kaminski
    January 28th, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Larry Kaminski

    Gents:

    Thank you for all the comments. Hopefully, we can get someone out there to show the greed and intentions of the NFL and NFLPA. I’m not even talking about pension or Legacy money. I appreciate all that extra bonus. However, at this stage of my life, health issues are prominent and we have no one to turn to help us other than the Amen Clinic and the advice of men like George Visger.

    I am sure we have many liberals out there in the Dave Pear blog community but Rush Limbaugh put out some great remarks today about the administration now looking into the way the game is played. I hope something does happen.

    People liked the Pro Bowl because it was exciting and no one got hurt – maybe at 80% speed. I’m sure the NFL would make this change if they were serious about injury. They could call it the Powder Puff NFL: PPNFL! We could guarantee no big hits, semi-speed play but huge scores like when you were kid playing on the street! No one would show up, players would not get the salaries, no future injuries and maybe the game is abandoned. The owners could just reach into their safe and pay off the leases for all those taxpayer-funded stadiums. Just kiddin’!

    All in all, maybe this drastic thought would get someone in the administration to realize we did not die on the field when we played but are dying daily with issues that haunt us from the old game. Thanks and good health to all…

    Larry K.

  11. Larry Kaminski
    January 30th, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Larry Kaminski

    Gents:

    I see where the NFLPA took $100 million of the recently negotiated contract to donate to Harvard for yet another study on concussions. As of late, the studies from OSHA to Boston University and other entities have all shown a direct correlation to the fact that head hits create later issues in life for former NFL players.

    Recently, we were told we could fly to New Orleans to be part of a new program reviewing our head issues. Yes, at our expense. Why – and I emphasize why – couldn’t the player assistance group or whatever they are called put that money into a trust to help those former players who need medical or concussion analysis and help? Most of us on Medicare have an outlet. Even though as of late, Obamacare has kicked in and your treatment will be evaluated as necessary – or not – by some bureaucrat in DC.

    To paraphrase an old movie line: “Studies?! We don’t need no stinkin’ studies!” We need actual concern and help for the pre-1993 players. Stop the PR and do something. Dave, let’s see if we can get a line with the administration and flood them with the info you and Robert get daily.

    Thanks and good luck to all.

    Larry Kaminski
    Denver Broncos
    1966 – 1973

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