When Brandon Marshall heard about Junior Seau's suicide, his mind began to question what could have done differently for the NFL legend. Marshall, the Bears' wide receiver who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, has extensive experience with what therapy can do for a person. He wrote about his experience in a thoughtful story in the Chicago Sun-Times, and discussed how hard it can be for an athlete to transition into a post-football life.
Looking at the situation with Seau and other cases with retired athletes, I think our focus should be more on why the transition seems to be so hard after football. As athletes, we go through life getting praised and worshiped and making a lot of money. Our worlds and everything in them — spouses, kids, family, religion and friends — revolve around us. We create a world where our sport is our life and makes us who we are. When the game is taken away from us or when we stop playing, the shock of not hearing the praise or receiving the big bucks often turns out to be devastating.
What Marshall wants to do is focus on what can proactively be done for players right now. Though he acknowledges the effects of brain injuries are devastating, he wants to talk about what can be easily fixed now. He wants to help players who go from playing in front of millions of people to sitting at home without a job to go to in a matter of months. He suggests therapy for players finishing up their careers.
When he first announced his own mental health struggles, Marshall said he wanted to be the face of BPD. He promised to make himself vulnerable to help others. By writing this article, he showed it wasn't an empty promise. Kudos to Marshall for opening up on a subject that clearly hit close to home.