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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 3:14 pm

Ex-football player fears future with brain damage

WASHINGTON (AP) Former NFL tight end Ben Utecht says he fears where his history of brain injuries will leave him in the future.

In testimony Wednesday during a Senate hearing, Utecht said he started experiencing memory loss at 29, after a football career that left him with five documented concussions and innumerable dings to the head.

Now 32, Utecht says, in his words, "It took losing my mind to care about my mind."

His testimony before the Senate Special Committee on Aging came as brain injuries in sports, particularly contact sports like football, remain a concern for players and families. More evidence suggests a link between head injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.

Utecht was on the Indianapolis Colts' championship team in 2007 and retired with the Cincinnati Bengals after a concussion in 2009.