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Famous former NFL player discusses his head injuries

Football fans who lived in the New York area in the 1980s likely remember the name Mark Gastineau. As part of the New York Jets' famous "New York Sack Exchange," he was a force in pressuring and sacking NFL quarterbacks. Gastineau spent a decade with the New York Jets, accruing over 100 sacks, was named an All-Pro three times and attended five Pro Bowls during his reign with the team.

But as everyone knows, football is a violent sport, and Gastineau admits today that he played the sport with a reckless abandon. He recently went on WOR710 radio to discuss his current battle with dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Upon reflecting on his career and style of play, he said, "I know that there's techniques out there that if I would have had them, if I would have had the techniques out there...I know I would not probably...I wouldn't have the results that I have now."

Significant blows to the head can create immediate injuries such as concussions and more severe traumatic brain injuries. But it is important to recognize that even if a person does not experience any symptoms of an injury or illness at the time of the impact, repeated blows to the head could result in long-term injuries down the road, evident by Gastineau's current condition.

All of the illnesses and mental conditions Gastineau is experiencing now qualify as Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions. For victims of such conditions that prohibit them from maintaining gainful employment, they may be able to apply for financial relief from the Social Security Administration which has multiple programs available to help Americans suffering from debilitating conditions.

Source: 5 News, "Ex-Jet Mark Gastineau: Diagnosed With Dementia, Alzheimer's And Parkinson's," By CBS News, Jan. 21, 2017

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