Did Mental Illness Or Post-Concussion Syndrome Bring Down All-Pro Athlete?

Source: Wallpaper Cave

Today’s star professional athletes seem to have it all. They’re adored by fans, wealthy beyond imagination and revered by their peers. But lurking behind that attractive façade hides an inner demon they battle with every waking moment.

While those around them see a picture of happiness and success, inside they are hanging by a thread knowing a fall is coming. Such was the case of a former All-Pro Oakland Raiders center who was struck down by demons inside his head that could no longer be controlled.

In 2002, the Raiders were poised to win their fourth Lombardi Trophy. But on the eve of Super Bowl XXXVII their All-Pro center and leader of the offense line, Barret Robbins, disappeared. He’d crossed the border from San Diego into Tijuana and went on a binge of alcohol and illegal substances. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Raiders offense without their best lineman, and Robbins’ life has been spiraling out of control ever since.

What the general public did not know was that Robbins was already mentally unstable, according to sources within the organization, and the pressure of the biggest game of his life overwhelmed him. Soon out of football, Robbins became another ex-NFL player kicked to the curb without a mental health support system.

In early 2005, the hulking 6’3” and 320-pound former athlete would get into a brawl with Miami police. After knocking out two officers, one shot him two from point-blank range in the chest. According to the officer, Robbins just looked at him and said, “Now, I’m going to kill you.” Most recently, Robbins has been arrested for randomly beating a mother and her daughter and has been temporarily placed in a mental health facility awaiting trial. Because he has little resources, he’ll be represented by a Florida public defender for the two counts of felony assault. That seems incredible considering he signed a pro-football contract with Oakland after being drafted in 1995 and a five-year, $25 million deal to remain with the team in 2000. Despite all those the millions, Robbins is virtually destitute.

It’s become common knowledge that ex-football players are suffering seriously debilitating mental health conditions due to concussions and repeated head trauma. Robbins has spoken only about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder so far and has admitted to trying to self-medicate himself for many years. He turns into a raging bull without warning and poses a danger to himself and society. It may be time to institutionalize Robbins and provide him with the ongoing care he clearly requires and cannot afford.