Former Jets quarterback Ray Lucas paid a heavy price for playing in the NFL, like many other players.
Lucas, who played from 1996-2002, said he had at least 19 concussions. He has pain in his back, and pain in his neck causes uncontrollable spasms. Without any health insurance to fix the problem, he became addicted to pain pills, as many as 80 a day.
At his lowest point, the husband and father of three daughters contemplated suicide.
"I came to the conclusion there was nothing else to do except end my miserable life," Lucas said in an episode of GQ's documentary series "Casualties of the Gridiron."
Lucas said his plan was to drive out to the George Washington Bridge and take a hard right off of it. Before he did it, he called P.A.S.T. (Pain Alternatives Solutions and Treatments), which works with former players. They provided assistance, and helped Lucas get the spinal fusion surgery he needed but couldn't afford because he couldn't get health insurance.
While Lucas got help before he took his life, and has resumed a career in broadcasting, not all players are as fortunate. The first episode of "Casualties of the Gridiron," and the others that follow show the emotional and physical plight of some former NFL players.
"Everybody sees Sundays," Lucas said at the beginning of GQ's episode. "Nobody sees Mondays."
- - - - - - -