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Concussions, and their aftermath, can be life altering. NFL wife, Brandi Winans, opens up in her book about the effects of the ‘game’ on the players and their families: injuries, addiction to pain medications, emotional changes due to the head injuries, and fighting the NFL for benefits. Through the ordeals, she manages to restore her faith and find the courage to salvage her own life.
The following are two excerpts shared from the book by Brandi.
The orange juice and lying down seemed to work for now. I insisted they give my bed to some else and they escorted me to Jeff ’s room, where he was waiting for the Bucs Physician to arrive. The ER doctor had already given him the assessment over the phone and we didn’t want any media attention. I sat down in the lounge chair and waited with Jeff. Upon his arrival, he told us that he needed to get Jeff admitted so he could get him into surgery and cut out the infection.
Jeff immediately said, “No way Doc.” Do what you need to do, but I’m not staying!” You didn’t argue with him when he was in that kind of emotional distress. They gave him a local.
I watched Jeff as he endured the pain and was amazed at how much pain he could tolerate. I realized that being able to sustain pain was part of the game of football. I thought I would cringe as the doctor cut out the infection. But, to my surprise, I found it fascinating. Maybe it was because I had worked as a nurse’s aide in high school, or maybe as long as it wasn’t my blood I was all right. The hospital incident brought us even closer and made both of us realize how much we cared for one another.
A few nights later, he said, “B (his nickname for me), I have very strong feelings for you. I have to be out of this house soon. I know you have your place in Clearwater, but I want to be with you and I would like you to think about getting a place together and moving in with me. I don’t know if I’m going to be picked up by another team. If I do get picked up by another team, I want you to go with me. I know it’s a lot to think about.”
He took me by surprise. My mind was racing, looking for the right words to come out. “I love being with you, too, but you’re right, it is a lot to think about. We’ve both made a lot of changes over the last year and I really need some time to think about it.”
A few weeks later, I decided to follow my heart and go for it.
A few days later, I got a call from George’s secretary that he needed to see me right away so I went over on my lunch hour.
“Come in Brandi and sit down. I got a letter from your employer. They confirmed that they have filed a lawsuit and are suing you and Jeff personally. They also notified the gun distributor and they have placed a lien on it as well.”
I didn’t need to be hearing this right now. I was already so distraught, “George, how could they do that?”
“Because it is written in the benefit book now, they have the right to recover their money”.
“But it wasn’t in there when the gunshot accident happened.” “I know.”
“Well how can they sue us personally?”
“Suing you and Jeff personally insures their money. That way they make sure that they get theirs first and if there is any left over, you and Jeff would get the rest, less my attorney fees.”
I smiled, “So, you are cutting your attorney fees right? He just smiled back.
Every time I thought things were getting better, there was a new obstacle in our way. I was not going to let them win. With God’s help, we would overcome. I just didn’t have a clue how.
To purchase a copy of “The Flip Side of Glory”, visit Amazon.com here.
Read Brandi’s recent Q&A with Spouses in Sports by clicking here.