TORONTO, Ont. – From hockey to football, the prevalence of concussions has become one of the most distressing issues in modern sports. As we continue to learn more about the devastating long-term effects of concussions, we are seeing more retired players coming forward with their stories of struggle.
Matt Dunigan played quarterback in the CFL for 14 years, winning a Grey Cup in Toronto in 1991, and has since been recognized as one of the greatest CFL players in history.
When Dunigan, 50, was forced to retire from the game in 1996 with head injuries, nobody could imagine the lingering effects Dunigan would have to deal with, potentially for the rest of his life.
Nearly 15 years out of the professional game, Dunigan still suffers from some serious side effects from the 12 concussions he suffered during his football career.
The Hall of Fame quarterback still deals with memory loss, balance issues, mood swings and speech difficulties.
For Dunigan, the symptoms haven’t prevented him from pursuing a successful career as a TV analyst and host on the Food Network, but they certainly have made him cautious with his own son’s health.
Dunigan decided to remove his teenage son Dolan from organized football after he suffered three concussions in only four years.
Witnessing his son lying unconscious on the field after a tackle three years ago was the last straw for Dunigan. While he doesn’t want to discourage anyone from playing football, he said he would like to see better education and more research into head injuries.
His son Dolan has since turned to baseball, and has even been scouted to play for several American colleges.