Super Bowl Champion Ben Utecht testified about his dementia before Congress. Football causes a type of dementia called CTE, and Ben got it at the young age of 29. See what he hopes to do to tackle all forms of dementia.
Ben Utecht wrote a letter and a song to his wife and daughters for the day he can no longer remember who they are, he told Congress.
“I wrote the letter on a plane ride home with the brim of my hat over my eyes to hide the tears as they began to flow,” said Utecht, 32, who was a tight end for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts and the Cincinnati Bengals before suffering a career-ending concussion in 2009.
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Traumatic Brain Injuries can cause Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. CTE is a degenerative brain tied to repeated hits to the head. Its symptoms progress from confusion and depression to full-blown dementia.
Utecht said he took his memory for granted until a moment of “mental darkness”: he failed to recall his friend’s wedding despite appearing in several photos from the event.
“Page after page I was in disbelief,” Utecht said after he was handed the wedding's photo album. “Seeing myself in numerous pictures, as a groomsman and singing for them a song. To this day, I still have no memory of that event.”
Now, Utecht said he hopes to help “tackle” brain disease. He asked the Senators in the room to be his coaches and come up with a strategy.
Ben inspired Congress to do more with an encouraging vision: “We can become world champions on a new gridiron – the field of our identity,”.
Utecht shared the song inspired by the letter he wrote. It is called “You will Always Be My Girls,” and the lyrics are:
“I can still feel you here in this place beyond all tears,Click here to listen to the song on Utecht’s website.
Where love does what it does, it stays, yes it stays.
And I will remember your smiles and your laughter
Long ever after this moment is gone…
Seasons turned and turned again,
Till they became remember when.
The love in your hearts made this man complete,
My Cinderella’s you danced on my feet.
You will always be my girls,
You’re the beauty of my world,
And no matter how tomorrow unfurls,
Till the moment I am done with this world,
My yesterday babies in curls.
You will always be my girls”