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The title of Ben Utecht’s book is “Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away.”
Not much more needs to be added to that. Utecht, the former tight end for the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals from 2005-09, suffered five major concussions in his college and pro career. We’ve heard plenty of these stories by now, so we know where it’s headed: Utecht finds himself battling memory loss.
The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan wrote about Utecht’s battle with long- and short-term memory loss, and his book about it. Utecht wrote it as a way to document the memories he still has.
“This book is a keepsake,” Utecht told The MMQB. “I wanted to provide content for my daughters to be able to hold on to, to have forever.”
The premise of the book is heartbreaking (as is the title). The recommendations on Amazon include one from Dr. Bennet Omalu, made famous by the movie “Concussion,” which documented his work researching chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The MMQB’s story documents how the Cincinnati Bengals mistreated his last NFL concussion in 2009, initially blocking his attempts to get a second opinion and not giving him any workout recovery plan to follow. Utecht won a grievance against the Bengals, who cut him during the 2009 season when he was on injured reserve. Concussion awareness has grown a lot since then, but there will presumably always be stories like the one Utecht has to tell.
Utecht has become a public speaker and advocate for concussion awareness, even testifying before Congress about concussions in 2014, as he’s feeling the effects. The MMQB told the story of how he couldn’t remember a friend’s wedding even though he was a groomsman and sang in the wedding.
Utecht has a story to tell, and wants to share it, worried what awaits him in the future.
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