NFL’s ‘what ifs’: The wives coping with the issues in American Football

Football is the most adored game in the United States, taking over Sunday’s and seeing thousands of fans flock to stadiums across America every week, along with the millions watching worldwide through their TV screens.

A physical and demanding sport, the NFL is not without it’s issues and serious injuries are just one tackle away, not just ending a player’s career but potentially altering their entire life in the blink of an eye.

Serious head injuries have been regularly discussed in recent years but problems with depression, anxiety, alcoholism and abuse are widespread, which certainly makes it difficult for loved ones to deal with the stresses of seeing their husbands play the sport they love.

Image Source: NFL

The wives of NFL stars both retired and still playing have united to help provide support to each other though, as The New York Times has published an insightful piece on the secret Facebook group over 2,000 strong that looks out for each other.

Created last summer by Tara Nesbit, spouse of former New Orleans Saints offensive linesman Jamar Nesbit, the group not only provides an insight into what the wives of NFL stars have to deal with but also shows the battles that our athletic heroes have to endure off the field.

The potential problems for NFL stars is certainly daunting, especially with the rise of awareness regarding C.T.E,- a chronic brain disorder linked to repeated blows to the head that many NFL players have endured, which The NY Times previously revealed a study found 110 of 111 former athletes had the disorder.

Crucially, it’s not a place to complain about the NFL or criticise the sport. Instead, the group is simply about bringing people with similar issues and concerns together, helping to provide a union to help individuals through the most difficult times- and it shows they’re not alone.

Janet McCoy, who’s husband Mike played eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers and died in 2016 after a battle with dementia, sums up the benefits of the group with one statement.

“I didn’t even know what was wrong with my husband, and I didn’t know any wives. What is fantastic about this site is that now I have been able to help other wives and validate what they were going through.”

By rallying together like this, the unison of NFL wives can help the league grow and adapt in many aspects, ranging from helping current players with their issues to assisting those that were forced to retire prematurely from injury.