Different view of Big Ben

I found myself having an interesting discussion yesterday. I was talking to my mom about all the normal stuff … she was catching me up on family news … when we somehow drifted to the topic of Ben Roethlisberger.

Now, mom talking about football in any way, shape or form, other than “When is this done?” or “I’m over this already,” is highly, highly unusual. So, even with Big Ben’s current problems, I found myself kinda shocked that she brought it up.

Mom claims she knows what’s going on with Big Ben.

Now, mom isn’t an accountant. She’s not a homemaker. She worked for years in differing degrees in the psychiatric field. She has more degree initials after her name than letters in her last name. Some of the names of the doctors she’s worked with are well-known throughout the area, and are highly recognizable in the psychiatric field. She’s been a nurse and an instructor, and trust me, she knows her stuff.

Mom says Big Ben is expressing the first signs of permanent brain damage.

According to her, “poor judgement” is the first sign. Now, most people chalk that up to being a rich 28-year-old professional athlete with a stereotypical “jock” mentality. I mean, really, how many stupid decisions would I have made when I was 28 if I had millions in the bank? A lot, that’s for sure.

However, mom says that no one is talking about possible brain damage because it can be difficult to see if you haven’t worked with brain-injured people before. So, it’s getting chalked up to other things.

But for mom, it’s clear as day.

She said she called her old friend and co-worker, and they talked about Big Ben’s shenanigans. Without expressing what she thought was going on, her friend confirmed her thoughts: Displaying first signs of permanent brain damage to the frontal lobes.

And let’s face it, Ben has taken his fair share of shots to the head. Not only concussions from the game, but a faceplant into a windshield. To rule out permanent brain damage seems a little foolhardy, even if it seems entirely too early for something like that to have happened.

Of course, this is all speculation. Neither of them have seen Big Ben’s records or charts. Mom is retired — her friend is also retired and lives in South Carolina. They don’t have access to anything on Roethlisberger. I think both have been retired before Ben even came to Pittsburgh — so this isn’t “inside scoop” or an “inside leak” or anything like that — this is the opinion from 2 retired professionals who worked with the brain-injured.

But having grown up around nurses, I can tell you one thing: They often see things that doctors don’t. In military terms, they’re the soldiers on the front while the doctors tend to be the commanders. And when it comes down to it, a good nurse needs to be a good observer so they can relay proper information to the doctors.

Whether they’re right or not, only time will tell. But I’ll be curious if this is the beginning of an inexplicable, downward trend for Big Ben — and something we’re likely to see more of in the future.

2 Responses to “Different view of Big Ben”

  1. 1 Jenn C
    March 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    [Three], I enjoyed this post. As a psychologist, I’m always interested what motivates people to behave the way they do. I kept thinking about why someone who could easily get laid would potentially rape someone, and it’s hard to make sense of it. Your (or your mom’s, rather) speculation provides one explanation that actually makes more sense than a lot of other possible explanations when trying to understand his behavior. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s considered by news media or if it goes to court.

  2. April 14, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Yes .. I agree with your mom. I just put a post on Facebook that I believe he has frontal lobe damage. The frontal lobes are considered our emotional control center and home to our personality. I thought this ever since his accident. My sister’s nephew was very good friends with him before the accident and stated he was very nice.

    I was born with a mild form of Cerebral Palsy and I have ADHD. I very clearly understand how brain damage can affect behavior. Ben was not wearing a helmet when he bashed his frontal lobe into the windshield. And how many concussions has he had since?

    I totally agree with your mom!

    Laine Rutkowski
    Coraopolis, PA


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