ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WTVF) – A former local college football player says repeated head injuries from football have had a devastating impact on her life.
Kelly Lindberg’s strategy in life has always been to prevent goals. A star defensive football player since childhood, she was also adept at looking tough to get back on the pitch as soon as possible.
As Lindberg describes it, years of collisions on the pitch and, in particular, “heading” the ball, have taken their toll.
Now questions about the impact of football on his life arise in his mind.
If you ask Lindberg, there was something appealing about the smell of weed.
For her, it was the view of the crowd from the field, the hard work and the rewarding feeling of playing competitive sports.
“Football was my first love,” Lindberg said.
Some people spend their entire lives perfecting their sports skills.
Kelly Lindberg was one of them.
“I started playing football around the age of five,” she said.
Her skill is evident when she juggled the soccer ball at a Metro soccer complex.
Lindberg was really good.
She played soccer from childhood through college, winning state championships from her hometown of Mandeville on the North Shore of New Orleans.
She played for LSU and eventually the College of Charleston as a defensive midfielder.
His list of accomplishments is long.
Despite his love of the sport, Lindberg said the legacy of football on his life had nightmarish consequences.
She thinks she has symptoms of a rare disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“It was most definitely about running a football at a very young age,” Lindberg said. His first exposure to the sport dates back to the age of five. “I played all year from age 8 to 19. I played defensive center and you make a lot of long-range goalkeeper headers.”
At Lindberg’s in Antioch, she described her life as an athlete, with the close comfort of her husband, Andrew Lindberg.
“I always lied and said I didn’t have a concussion and I had no symptoms because I wanted to play. I loved football. I just wanted to be able to play all the time,” she said.
Lindberg wanted to win. She wanted to be in the field and something like getting knocked out wasn’t going to stop her.
“My motto was, if I’m not unconscious or throwing up, I’m good to go,” she said.
Lindberg thought nothing of it.
And really, she was fine until the end of her freshman year in college.
Lindberg has a diary she kept that shows a change from 2009 to 2010.
On one page there were neat notes on daily football activities. Then the next one, scribbles and a message. It was ‘what’s the good of living?’
Kelly is only 30 years old.
In her early twenties, when she knew something was wrong.
“The symptoms. They’re horrible,” Lindberg.
Lindberg said she suffered from depression, mood swings, disorientation and sometimes outbursts of extreme anger.
Andrew said they didn’t keep sharp knives in the house for fear of what might happen.
“We’ve both been affected by head trauma. As romantic as it is, we met through a concussion forum,” he said.
Andrew was experiencing long-term effects from a concussion acquired in a longboarding accident.
The couple bonded through mutual hurt.
He got better but Kelly didn’t.
“I didn’t even believe in mental illness,” she said. “I thought depression was like circumstantial and people made excuses. Because I had never suffered from anything. I had a perfectly functioning brain.”
Frustration with Lindberg’s symptoms led her to try to harm herself.
“I punched myself in the head several times because I wanted the madness to stop. I banged my head through the windows. I tried to kill myself twice,” she said. declared.
She blamed the constant small impacts to the head during the game.
She spent years deflecting soccer balls across the pitch.
Perhaps the worst part of all of this is that Kelly will never know for sure if she has CTE.
It is a condition only diagnosed post-mortem.
The study of concussions is still in its infancy.
Dr. Douglas Terry is a neuropsychologist and co-director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center. He has been studying concussions for 12 years.
“I think, overall, in the literature, football has been given less prominence than some of the other traditional contact and collision sports,” Dr Terry said. “I think anything is possible. We’re just beginning to understand the science of what repetitive impacts to the head can lead to.”
Footballers are rarely at the center of discussion on a subject like this.
Dr Terry said that although studies of CTE are ongoing, it is difficult and frustrating for many patients who are convinced there is something going on but cannot say for sure what.
“We want to establish a causal relationship between repetitive head trauma, clinical syndromes and, later, brain autopsies. These links have not yet been fully verified by the scientific community,” said Dr. Terry.
Kelly donates her brain for research when she dies.
She said she was happy to be part of the advancement of science.
She wishes a brain scan existed and understands that some people may be skeptical of her story.
Thanks to this, all Kelly still loves sports.
Although his future is unknown.
“[In 10 years I hope] that I am alive, that I did not succumb to suicide, and that the symptoms I now feel have not progressed,” Lindberg said.
She said her new mission in life was to publicize her situation.
When asked what she would like to see changed in football, she said she wishes headers beyond the penalty area were not allowed.