Ben Utecht is most well-known for the years he spent playing for the Colts and Bengals in the NFL before he was forced to retire, but he is quickly becoming the face of the NFL’s concussion problem. Utecht retired from football in 2009, after suffering a concussion – his fifth diagnosed brain injury in six seasons.
At the age of 33, Utecht hasn’t been retired long but he is already suffering from memory loss. This memory loss has encouraged the former football player to become an advocate for brain trauma awareness, which has led him to speaking before Congress recently and serving as a spokesman for both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation.
Like many men his age though, Utecht is first a foremost a father. His 5-year-old daughter was also a huge part of his inspiration to start speaking out about the toll of brain injury. When speaking on Capitol Hill, he shared that his “wakeup call” was learning that his daughter told the family doctor she’s sometimes afraid of her dad.
Utecht’s experience with his daughters and brain trauma are both huge influences on a new song and video released by the former NFL player, who is also a singer in his spare time. It is a touching and personal song, but the video is where the story of brain injury plays out.
“[The song] was a chance for me to tell my girls that no matter what happens to me and my brain, they’re always going to be there,” Utecht told the Minnesota Star Tribune.