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Cleveland Browns OL Joe Thomas: ‘I’m Already Seeing Memory Loss’
At just 32-years-old, Joe Thomas is one of the very few bright spots for a Cleveland Browns franchise that hasn’t had a winning record since 2007, haven’t been in the playoffs since 2002, and has only seen the playoffs twice since 1990.
The Pro Bowl left tackle shared some disheartening news on Wednesday that he’s already experiencing some memory loss.
“I definitely expect memory loss,” Thomas said. “I’m already seeing memory loss, and maybe that’s just because of my old age, or maybe it’s football. It’s hard to tell, I mean there’s no double-blind studies when it comes to people’s lives.”
“I mean, there’s no double-blind studies when it comes to people’s life. It’s just a part, I think, of sometimes getting older. And it’s hard to tell it’s because of football or because you’re 32 and you’re not 21 anymore and you have a lot of stuff going in your life.”
What kind of memory loss? Bensinger asked.
“Short-term memory loss — hard times remembering things that have happened recently,” he said. “Like, you walk to the grocery store and you’re like, ‘Huh, I can’t remember what I needed to get.’
“Just little stuff like that, and I think if you let it really bug you, I think it can make you depressed and feel sad. Like, ‘Wow, I don’t have the memory I used to have.’ But, you know, I try to be relatively good-natured about it at this point.”
Thomas is entering his 11th season with the Browns and has yet to miss a single snap since being drafted by the team in 2007. He went on to state he is well aware of the risks of playing in terms of long-term brain damage, but they are risks he’s willing to accept.
“There’s definitely a concern,” Thomas said. “But the way I look at it is just about every profession in our society: There’s some lasting effects. It’s just the way that our society is set up. People have to work. If I was a stone mason or if I was a painter or building bridges or whatever, there’s going to be some wear and tear on your body and your brain. And that’s just the way it is.
“To be able to live the lifestyle and provide for my family the way that football has been able to do, to me it’s a trade-off that I’m willing to accept.”