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Sports

Thankfully, Charles Haley Spoke up About Mental Health at the NFL Hall of Fame

Because the NFL wouldn't let Junior Seau's family say a thing.
August 9, 2015, 6:20pm

(Charles Haley touches upon mental health and football at 3'18")

When the NFL silenced Junior Seau's family during his posthumous induction into the Hall of Fame, it seemed like everything about concussions and mental health was cleanly swept under the rug. That is, until Charles Haley came in and stirred shit up.

Haley, a former linebacker and defensive end for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys, took an important moment to recognize that addressing his mental health made for a huge turning point in his life. While he didn't make the direct connection between head trauma, brain damage and mental health, he did say that years after his ex-wife Karen suggested that he might have manic depression in 1988, he finally came around to acknowledging it.

"My life spiraled out of control for years—for years," Haley said with sweat dripping down his face. "But today, guys, I get to go back into the locker room, to my teammates and tell them, guys, the mistakes that I made, and that the only way that you can grow is that you got to ask for help."

If the NFL refuses to talk about life-impacting mental health injuries, then thankfully there are player like Haley who are using the stage to point out what's clearly in front of the NFL's face.