Tackle TBI with NFL Alumni

Craig McEwen

~ former tight end in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins and the San Diego Chargers, he shares with us his experiences with TBI and new initiatives by the NFL / NFL Alumni to better protect younger players. As this week leads in to Super Bowl LI, between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons, take a moment to hear from a veteran player, member of a Super Bowl winning lineup, as he shares his story with us.

 

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Crossing the Line

Craig always dreamed of being a pro football player.  He didn't realize that his career would start by crossing the player's strike line, but that's what happened.  Craig was playing college football in Utah when he got the call from the Washington Redskins.  He would get the chance at the career he dreamed of, but to get on the field, he would have to sign on to play when the other players were on strike.  Craig jumped at the chance just to get on the field.  Once the strike was over, he was officially hired on.   He became part of the Super Bowl winning team in 1987.  From there, Craig was recruited to the San Diego Chargers where he spent the next 3 years. 

Craig was what's referred to as  "lunch pail" player - he was one of the guys that knew he needed to stay focused and be a good member of the team - his role was not one of show boating - he was in it for the love of the game and the team.  His goal was to stay on the field, so he gave his all every time.  That fierce determination got Craig his years in the NFL, but it also plays a factor in the repercussions he now deals with due to his career.  When you give your all in a high-contact sport, you're bound to suffer some injuries.,  Everyone knows that, but what Craig didn't realize was that it would be the invisible injuries that affected him the most.  Craig's body took a lot of hits and rough tumbles during his years on the field.  He had to stop playing after neck, back and foot injuries.  After some back surgery, he even tried to make a comeback in the European league for a year, but his physical injuries prevented him from sustaining a career as a player.  Although Craig still has some physical difficulties, it was his head injuries that have most affected his life.

Criag McEwen washington redskins Super Bowl
Washington Redskins tight end Craig McEwen (32) in action during the Redskins 30-21 loss to the Phoenix Cardinals on September 25, 1988 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

The Repercussions of Concussions

When Craig left the NFL, his life carried on pretty nicely for about 10-12 years: he has a long term relationship which produced a daughter, he owned a successful bar and then opened a personal training franchise.  Life was good.  But somewhere around 2011, Craig's life took a downward turn.  He had been dealing with some residual physical pain due to his bodily injuries and began self-medicating with alcohol and pain pills, he got into a bad business deal and lost any financial stability he had, and his relationship with his long-term girlfriend ended, so he was now alone, in pain, and lacked the insight to see past his current state of affairs.  That's when Craig started noticing how his mind and emotions were being affected.  He dealt with bouts of depression, foggy memory, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, and felt hopeless after what his life was turning into. 

A New Lease on Life

It was through his physical and emotional battle with himself that Craig discovered that the cognitive symptoms he was experiencing (depression, self-loathing, foggy brain, etc) were actually tied into his repeated head injury and his commons were symptoms of repeated concussions.  Since 2012, Craig has been seeking personal growth and healing.  He entered a treatment facility in 2012 to aid him with getting some perspective on his long-term symptoms and how to cope with them.  He followed this with seeking personal growth seminars, personal coaching, psychotherapy and educating himself.  Although Craig can be his own worst enemy (as many people who suffer with debilitating emotional symptoms can be to themselves), he is on a new, humble path in life.  He has dedicated himself to charitable service and advocacy for fellow athletes and combat veterans. 

From Fallen Pro to President

Four years ago, Craig had the opportunity to breathe new life into the local San Diego Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association.  He became the President of the chapter and has dedicated all his efforts on behalf of the association to focus on coordinating charitable events to fund research into 1. Making football and other contact sports less dangerous, 2.  Helping combat veterans gain funding and access to medical and emotional health providers, 3.  Raising funds and donations to help kids in need, and 4.  To coordinate events with experts who can help the former players in any and all aspects of thier lives through actual assistance and through education. 

 

Where to Next?

For as much as Craig still has some pretty rough days due to his symptoms, he is one of the most genuine and humble people around.  He knows telling of his tougher times can, and does, really help others.  Take a listen to hear Craig's story and all that is going on behind the scenes in research, playing football safer and the charitable work being done to not only those on the retirement side of their pro-ball careers, but also those currently playing and the future generations of players.  If you are interested in having Craig speak on your show or at your event or would like to get in touch with him to find out more, or to get involved and become an associate member of the NFL Alumni Association, he would be happy to hear from you. 

This episode was truly inspiring to to me.......I hope it is for you too.

 

Resources:

Craig McEwen:  You can reach Craig at sandiego@nflalumni.org

Concussed:  This is a 18 minute documentary made in 2012 featuring Craig at his most vulnerable.  This was tough for his to do, but it did help him refocus his life and pushed him towards a brighter future.

Invisible Scars:  A book by Bart Billings, Ph.D. - this book takes an in-depth look at how to combat Post Traumatic Stress through alternative methods to medication.

 

 


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Our new men’s group therapy is starting!

                 Peak Performance for Modern Men

Are you a man between 22-30 years old who struggles with feeling like you’ve got your life on track? Do you want a relationship, but have been hurt before and just have avoided dating altogether? Wish you felt more confident? Well, there’s a new group starting here at Coaching Through Chaos just for you! If you’ve never been to a men’s group therapy session, don’t worry, this group will feel more like an interactive class. We want you to get the most out of this experience!

Group Facilitator:

Josh Hudson, IMF (619) 881-0051 ext. 5

Group Mission:

To help men find and keep their ideal partner by teaching them to reach their full potential and accept themselves in the process.

Start Date:

TBD (approx. end of February 2017)

Location:

Coaching Through Chaos 2535 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 355 San Diego, CA. 92108

Who’s it for?

Men, age 22-30, who wish to feel more confident, more assertive, develop healthy relationships and understand themselves better.

Topics to Covered*:

• Building Self-Confidence

• Stress Coping Skills

• How to Develop Healthy Relationships

• How to handle Rejection

• Overcoming Relationship Fears

• How to Set and Achieve Goals

Age:

22-30 (if you know someone who could benefit from this group and they are above or below this age range, please let me know – I’d love to find a group for them).

Cost:

$30 per session, pre-paid (cash/check/charge/HSA).

Format:

• Weekly for 8 consecutive weeks

• 1 Hour

• Educational- there will be weekly topics for group learning & discussion For more info and to make referrals, contact Josh: (619)881-0051 ext. 5.  

*Topics may change based on group needs. Please call with any questions you may have. 

Josh Hudson
Josh Hudson, IMF

Josh Hudson is Supervised by Dr. Colleen Mullen, MFC43476

Positive Solutions For Misbehavior

                                                                                               Written by: Valerie Holcomb, MFTI
Often, your child’s misbehavior is not as intentional as you may think.  How parents respond to the behavior can influence how often and in what way children repeat that behavior. How a parent reacts to unintentional misbehavior may determine whether that behavior will be repeated as a way to achieve one of the four goals of misbehavior: attention, power, revenge, and displaying inadequacy. following are some quick but impactful positive solutions for the misbehavior.


Here are some cooperative strategies to help you help your children feel encouraged and empowered by addressing the above misbehaviors:


• If your child’s goal is to seek attention, then try redirecting by involving your child in a useful task that is age-appropriate to gain attention. For instance, say what you will do. For example, have faith in your child to sit with his or her feelings, don’t rescue. Finally, plan regular special time together.
• If your child’s goal is to be the boss or have power then try redirecting to positive power by asking for help. Offer limited choices and don’t fight or give in. You can be firm and kind, and decide what you will do.
• If your child wants to get even or has revenge then acknowledge his or her feelings. Avoid punishment and instead build trust. It’s okay to share your own feelings and try to make amends. The point is to show that you care.
• If your child wants to give up or displays inadequacy then try breaking the task down to smaller steps. Refrain from criticizing and encourage any positive attempt. This is an opportunity for you to have faith in your child’s abilities. This is a chance for you to teach your child by showing how, but don’t do it for him.
Remember if your child is having a hard time, interrupting, throwing tantrums, being rude, or simply not trying, this doesn’t mean you are an unsuccessful parent or that your child is unruly. It means that it’s most likely a time to begin aiming for solutions to solve the problem and modeling the cooperation and respect that your child deserves.

What does your child’s misbehavior mean?

Recognizing the Four Goals of Your Child’s Misbehavior

                                                                                                                                                                   By: Valerie Holcomb, IMF

When raising kids, it’s important to understand that misbehavior happens, even with the best-behaved kids.  When your child misbehaves, there are motivations for those behaviors (even if they are really frustrating for you).  Very often, there is something paradoxical going on unconsciously for the child that results in the misbehaving.. There are psychological theories that suggest that a child’s misbehavior happens, generally, because he or she wants to have a sense of belonging and a guaranteed place in one’s family. Additionally, a situation may happen where the child displays a series of bad behaviors.   When this occurs, the misbehavior is not so easily understood.         

                                                                                                                                                               frustrated parent with kids engaging in misbehavior

Rudolph Dreikurs was psychiatrist who adapted Alfred Adler’s holistic psychological theory to his work with understanding children’s behavior.  Dreikurs took the child’s entire environment into account when seeking to explain their behavior.   Dreikur’s provided reason to believe that a child misbehaves to achieve one of the following goals:
• Attention
• Power
• Revenge
• Display of inadequacy

Attention

A child believes he or she can belong only by having others pay attention to them. Some ways they can gain attention are by interrupting, clowning around, or in some cases be passive and not do their chores. A parent can recognize attention seeking by being aware of how they feel, for instance, you might feel annoyed or become impatient.

Power:

A child who is having a power struggle generally wants to be the boss or have their own way. He or she might actively throw a tantrum, make demands, and argue. The opposite is that he or she might be stubborn or do a task their parents want, but slowly and sloppily. You can recognize this goal by when you feel angry or determined to regain control.

Revenge:

A child who is displaying revenge might be rude or say hurtful things, as well as become violent. Sometimes a child will inactively give hurtful looks and refuse to cooperate. Typically, this type of child wants to get even. In result, the parent feels hurt and sometimes resentful. Furthermore, you might try to punish the child and their response is to seek further revenge.

Display of Inadequacy:

A child will act as if he or she is inferior, unskilled or unsuccessful towards something. They eventually believe they are helpless and want to reflect that they cannot be relied upon. A parent will become aware of this behavior when they begin to feel confused and helpless. Sadly, a parent will believe that there is nothing more that can be accomplished. When this happens, a child might respond passively or lack a response.

In summary, remembering these four points should help the parents to stay calm. It’s important to not blame yourself, remember it’s easy to have an opinion about parenting, but the most challenging thing you’ll ever do!

Please follow this blog for upcoming posts to help intervene and even prevent these unwanted behaviors as well as for so may other helpful life management strategies.