It’s an all-too-familiar story around at highest levels of football, a former Gator hero and NFL linebacker, who is suffering from post football related head trauma and struggling to get any assistance..
Former Florida legendary linebacker Scot Brantley, who was as menacing a tackler in the late 1970’s, as there was in college football, says he is now suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Brantley spoke out publicly for the first time about his condition on a segment on HBO’s Real Sports that aired for the first time Tuesday night.
The segment with correspondent John Frankel focused on the 2013 concussion settlement with the NFL, former players and the NFL Players Association.
In it, Brantley, who played eight seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers from 1980 to 87, is shown being unable to walk without the assistance of a walker, and having trouble on camera remembering things such as, how old he is.
Brantley told Frankel that he is 50 years old and when he repeats it, his wife Mary corrects him on camera that he’s actually 60 years old. And, says that he loses track of things like this all the time.
She went on to say that the National Football League continues to stonewall Brantley among other players from settlement benefits. She told the show, that the NFL contends that because Brantley was still doing radio guest appearances in the earlier part of this decade and it was considered work by the league.
Therefore, his claim for concussion related benefits has been repeatedly denied.
Brantley had been a sportsradio host in the Tampa Bay market after his Buccaneers career ended in the 1990’s through the early 2000’s on various radio stations.
Brantley’s wife said to Frankel,
“If they were sitting in front of me I’d say, you’re a liar, because this is a legitimate claim. And I’m sure there are other people, who have been denied. ‘Deny, deny until you die,’ that’s what the NFL players think the NFL is doing and has done. And that’s what they think has happened to many friends that they have and loved that are gone.”
They and other former players and their families are choosing to speak out to gain sympathy and momentum to try to get the benefits.
The “Real Sports” segment Tuesday night detailed the frustration of numerous former players and their families that have been denied benefits. It also interviewed the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Chris Seeger, who defended negotiating the deal. He essentially said after years of wrangling legally, they had to get some deal done with the NFL to start the benefits. And that, were able to get significant money committed for the next 60 years.
HBO reported that since the 2013 settlement, the league has paid over $183 million in settlement claims. Still as the show stated, their research showed that rejected claims are at a 90% rate, currently.
Back to Scot Brantley, who previously worked as the Gators radio analyst 1997-2003 and also the Bucs analyst in the same role from 1999-2005, he later suffered two strokes in 2008.
Mary Brantley also told Frankel that she fears for Scot’s safety, because he often will ask for his gun, which she will not give him. There have already been numerous cases from former Hall of Fame LB Junior Seau, to former safety Dave Duerson to recently, TE Chris Gedney, taking their lives with handguns, while suffering from some type of playing related head trauma.
Once Brantley’s career in Gainesville was done, he was one of two players, Steve Spurrier being the other, who had his number retired by the University of Florida. The school has since done away with retired numbers.
Brantley was inducted in the University of Florida’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
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