A Super Bowl Star’s On-Going Contest with Dementia

 As Super Bowl Week builds with excitement, Dallas Cowboys legend Rayfield Wright goes about his life in a fog of dementia.  He played in five Super Bowls, helped win two, and even 35 years after retirement is still considered one of the best offensive linemen who ever played the game.  But now he is broke— physically, mentally and financially.

Wright, 68, is one of the 4,500 former NFL players suing the league for compensation for repeated head injuries suffered while playing the game.  Studies have repeatedly shown that NFL players have dementia, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases with greater frequency than the general population.  The lawsuit, currently in the settlement process, contends the NFL concealed what it knew about head injuries.

In a moving profile of Wright, The New York Times’ Juliet Macur reminds us of the price our Super Bowl heroes sometimes pay.  Wright can’t make ends meet on his $82.20 a month NFL pension after years of dealing with medical bills associated with his repeated head injuries.  In his 13 seasons with the Cowboys, “Big Cat” sustained “more concussions that I can count,” including one during his first NFL start in 1969.