September 10, 2012
The Other Half Of The Story
TOO OFTEN FORGOTTEN IN THE NFL CONCUSSION DEBATE ARE THE WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS WHO BEAR THE BURDEN OF CARING FOR SUFFERING PLAYERS—AND WATCHING THE MEN THEY LOVE SLOWLY SLIP AWAY
THE NOTEBOOK is pink and purple, his favorite colors. His girlfriend picked it up at a Phoenix-area HomeGoods store eight months ago. She shuttles it between their home office and a desk in their kitchen, jotting down things she knows her 53-year-old boyfriend, two-time Super Bowl--winning quarterback Jim McMahon, won't remember.
May 28, 2012 Told JM about golf out in Mississippi for [country musician Steve] Azar. From Azar's heading to Mario's [Lemieux] event.
A few pages later:
On 6/5 told Mac we need to start to get organized for Azar's event and for Mario's. Looked at me like I have five heads. And he said, "I didn't think we were going to Azar's." After a few minutes, he looked at me and said, "Baby, you're right. Sorry. I forgot."
Laurie Navon started the log to help McMahon, who played for the Bears and six other NFL teams between 1982 and '96, recall everything from which charity golf events he was scheduled to attend to why the plumbers were at the door. (Plumber was here. Said we need to change our two toilets.) Many of the other wives and girlfriends who care for retired professional football players—who, according to a 2009 University of Michigan study, may be five times more likely than other men their age to suffer from dementia—can relate to Navon's log. Its details might be unfamiliar, but overall it tells a familiar story. Theirs.
Navon, 46, is part of an unofficial sorority whose members meet at the occasional team reunion dinner or charity golf tournament. They recognize each other by the burdens they share and by the familiar characteristics of their mates: the slow shuffle, the empty stare, the non-sequitur replies to simple questions. Like Junior League members swapping recipes, the women trade tips for managing their partners' memory loss and mood swings.
more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/ ... /index.htm