If you or anyone you know is struggling with emotions of melancholy or suicidal feelings, the Countrywide Suicide Avoidance Lifeline delivers totally free, round-the-clock assist, information and facts and methods for enable. Arrive at the lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Greg Clark is not alive to celebrate the 25th anniversary of being drafted by the 49ers out of Stanford.
Would he even have finished so?
“Yes,” his widow, Carie, claimed just after a thoughtful pause. “I feel he would have celebrated.”
Clark liked football, and his spouse and children even now does in spite of its greatest impression on his brain, which wreaked havoc on him just after his NFL profession ended in 2001.
Greg Clark was 49 when he died by suicide previous July while alone at his family’s Danville dwelling. A self-inflicted gunshot wound shook their tranquil oasis in Mount Diablo’s shadow.
At 6 a.m. the next day, Carie Clark was on the cellphone, trying to find to understand the place to donate her late husband’s brain for scientific study — and for answers.
The Clark household, in an exclusive job interview with this news firm, is revealing that Boston College researchers found indicators of Stage 3 CTE – long-term traumatic encephalopathy – in Clark’s mind.
“He completely was struggling in silence,” Carie Clark stated in an emotional interview, together with Greg’s brother Jon, this 7 days at a Pleasanton café.
“He did all the issues they attempted to supply and it just wasn’t more than enough,” Carie included of cure choices as a result of the NFL and its gamers union. “I did not truly know a entire lot, since he was hiding it from me.”
“CTE is a progressive disease and it receives worse as an unique ages,” stated Dr. Ann McKee of the Boston College CTE Middle. “Even even though Greg retired just before age 30, the condition continued to development and it unfold from those lesions, which is quite classic for CTE. His condition had distribute into the interior of mind, the components that management mastering and memory.”
The Clarks are not talking out to position blame. They do not want to burn down the sport. Carie insists on preserving the family’s year tickets to see their still-beloved 49ers with sons, Jayden, 22, and McKay, 14.
Jayden will graduate later this yr from Southern Utah, exactly where he completed his soccer vocation as a linebacker previous fall, just months soon after his father’s death.
Greg Clark performed practically 15 a long time of soccer. He was a compact college or university All American at Ricks College in Utah. Invoice Walsh recruited him to Stanford, wherever he performed two seasons and gained a diploma in psychology.
He was a third-spherical decide by the 49ers in the 1997 NFL draft.
Clark had some highlights (4 touchdowns about four seasons) and some injuries, the final of which needed hamstring operation to sideline him all of 2001 right before his release in February 2002.
Whether or not or not Clark experienced a record of concussions, McKay noted that “it’s these gentle hits, called sub-concussive hits, that above time bring about CTE.”
Not long before he died, Clark despatched e-mail to friends and medical practitioners seeking assistance. Carie, his spouse of 22 decades, discovered of this only right after his dying.
“We understood he had CTE signs. I was shaken when they claimed he experienced advanced, Phase 3 CTE,” Carie Clark said.
Greg Clark’s anxiousness in 2014 had him request assist. But the treatment prescribed to him only set him in a darker place. So, for 8 yrs, he took the homeopathic route with natural vitamins.
Her husband did not opt into the NFL’s concussion settlement right up until 2017. Once he joined, he went to Southern California for testing and gained cost-free therapy periods.
He did not lead a route of destruction. His marriage and finances were being intact. He and Jon had been enterprise associates in East Bay serious estate for 14 several years, and Greg created a complicated portfolio as a result of it.
“Greg was very intelligent, and he was striving to come across ways to make himself far better,” Jon recalled. “The final number of several years of his life… speak about carpe diem.”
If a “powder alert” strike his brother’s cellular phone concerning snowfall, he’d head out to ski. He’d enthusiastically strike top secret fishing holes, or spontaneously sign up for his brother to hike 50 percent Dome.
“He was a authentic man or woman,” Brent Jones, the former 49ers limited finish, stated at Clark’s memorial company. “You’ve read so a lot of stories right now about Greg and his character characteristics, and how he could sometimes have a hard-edged exterior, right until Carie came together, the good news is. But he was delicate inside and experienced this kind of a wonderful coronary heart.”
But nerve-racking enterprise in January 2021 introduced on much more stress. Then came a mountain bicycle incident and a poison oak breakout that put him on treatment, on prime of other medication he was having.
“A 6-7 days spiral” ensued, according to Jon, 1 of Greg’s 6 more youthful brothers and his business companion in true estate ventures for the earlier 16 several years.
Clues at Clark’s deteriorating state were being irritability, psychological distance, memory lapses, isolation, stress and anxiety and depression, and his prescribed medicine for the latter is what Dr. McKee named “the final straw.”
The Boston University CTE Heart has approximately 1,300 brains it is investigated, together with those people of close to 800 football players and over 300 who played in the NFL.
“It’s not distinctive any longer,” McKee said of CTE diagnoses. “It’s regrettable, it’s depressing and it is tragic just about every solitary time.”
Greg Clark was conscious of the CTE results in fallen NFL players who died by suicide, and he shared his disbelief every single time with his spouse. Individuals deaths provided Dave Duerson (2011) and Junior Seau (2012), as nicely as notorious instances involving convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez (2017) and Philip Adams (2021, who killed himself after capturing 6 people today to death in South Carolina).
“A whole lot of these men, it is not clear they’re suffering from a brain personal injury,” McKee mentioned. “They glance high-quality. They for the most part get as a result of the day with out trouble. It is the refined improvements.”
The league’s earlier of obscuring concussion investigation is effectively documented, but it has manufactured around 50 security-concentrated rule modifications in the past 20 years and tweaked apply demands to encourage player overall health. Continue to, chance of head harm is inherent in the sport.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Clinical Officer, claimed in a assertion: “Greg Clark’s prognosis underscores the urgent need to have for ongoing arduous scientific analysis related to the avoidance, analysis and remedy of traumatic mind personal injury (TBI), concussion and persistent traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). All of us who treatment for current and former athletes have extra to study about the acute and serious manifestations of brain damage, and all clinicians hope that we will soon have improved diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities for our patients. I am delighted that the NFL carries on to fund exploration into some of these crucial unanswered questions, but as we await those people developments we will also keep on to make tangible progress in shielding gamers and creating our match safer, which includes our endeavours to cut down all kinds of head make contact with.”
CTE can be verified only posthumously. 9 months soon after Clark’s loss of life, his spouse and children gathered for a online video conference with McKee? Clark not only had CTE, but a critical situation.
The analysis strike Clark’s brother Jon “like a punch to the gut. It is just a experience of sorrow of what he was dealing with — alone.”
Clark was “a minimal early” to reach Phase 3 CTE, which commonly hits about age 56. But Carie said it presented a “weird perception of relief.
“Suicide has these types of a stigma. It was affirmation he was not well. He was not Greg… “I can appear at my boys and say, ‘Your father was definitely, seriously ill.’
“Some peace will come from that,” Carie Clark said. “But the agony and fact will by no means go absent.”
The Nationwide Suicide Avoidance Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.