Eric Moulds sees people around him struggle with concussions, but he's doing well himself. The former Bills wide receiver trains high school and college receivers, and might get into high school coaching soon. He spent the summer with the San Diego Chargers as a training camp intern. Right now, he's in Charlotte, N.C.
His own concussion story is scary. Moulds scored a touchdown and didn't know he had moments after, as explained in Sunday's story.
Today, Moulds speaks to other former players and many of them, he said, "can go 0 to 100 at any moment. ... They could be really nice and then one little thing can tick them off."
A few extra thoughts from Moulds...
On his concussion: “I caught it in the back of the end zone and tip-toed in and hit the back of my head on the turf and everything went blank for a minute. I jumped up and I was a little dizzy. My teammates took me to the sideline and I remember the offensive coordinator coming up to me and asking me a couple things he wanted to do and I couldn’t understand anything he was talking about. And I was talking to a couple of my teammates and said ‘Hey man, we’re winning? Who scored the touchdown?’ And they ran and got the doctor.
“Bud (Carpenter) asked if I was OK, looked in my eyes and I never made eye contact with him. And usually when I talk to him, I always do so he didn’t let me go back into the game. The doctor came over and held me out for a few series and asked me questions and gave me tests. My memory slowly came back to me and when it came back to me fully, it was probably the middle of the third quarter. It was probably the second quarter when I got that concussion. I came back in the third quarter and things started to come back to me. Slowly, but surely.
“The quarterback would come up to me and call plays and the first time he did it, I had no clue what he was talking about. Things slowly came back to me. He’d call the play and I’d slowly recognize exactly what I had to do from every position. He’d call run plays out and I had no clue what he was talking about so those plays would come back to me.
On if this is all scary as we learn more about CTE: “It’s really scary but at the same time guys have an understanding of concussions now. You know exactly what you’re signing up for. You know the risks and repercussions of playing in the National Football League. Guys have a love for this sport and are willing to do whatever it takes to be successful and win. It’s a Catch 22. You’re going to have injuries, you’re going to have concussions. You’re going to have certain things happen in the sport. Any time you play a contact sport, from football to hockey, even basketball guys get concussions. There’s risks to everything that you do. Even in life, you could be playing in an intramural flag football game, somebody can get hit and wind up with a concussion, so there’s risks to everything.”
On if guys will continue to play even if they know all the dangers: “You’ve heard this and I’ve heard this before — ‘I’m willing to die for this game.’ You hear that all the time. I heard it even before I was playing football — ‘for my sport, for my team I’m willing to die for it.’ It’s a scary thing now with concussions and what we’re seeing happening to guys. I’ve talked to guys who have had a number of concussions and they’ve said they wouldn’t change a thing.”
On what he hears from some other players struggling: “They deal with things where they’re scared. Or at one point in time they’re really happy with their family and then anything their kid does or their wife does, it can set them off. And they look back like ‘Oh man, I had no idea what I was thinking or what I was doing.’ So that’s a scary thing to see happening. Your mind is the strongest thing in your body. And if you can’t control that, it’s a scary thing.”
“Certain guys can deal with it and certain guys can’t. And then you throw in the factor of medical bills and different things they have to deal with and that’s more stress on them. Some guys can handle it, some guys can’t. That’s why you see a few things happen to NFL players who have retired and different situations where they put themselves in a bad situation. You look at the Junior Seau situation, he was one of the toughest linebackers to ever play the game. People don’t want to say it, but it was a factor I think in the death with him.”
On wanting to give back as a coach himself: “I was given a lot of knowledge. I was given an opportunity to do something a lot of people don’t do so I try now to, as I train young athletes and as I go into the coaching world, to give back all the knowledge I’ve learned and give guys direction as far as what I’ve been through and what they’re going to go through in the future if they decide to play football. So I’ve tried to reinvent myself that way to make them better players and better people. I’ve been keeping myself busy. Players that are retired, players that leave this game, you’ve got to keep yourself busy. As you know, everything is laid out for us—you have to practice at this time, you have to lift weights, everything is laid out for you every day when you’re a football player. Now, when you’re retired, you have your own time, you have to lay out your own plan. So that’s different.”
“I’m helping these high school kids get better because a lot of these kids have talent but they have no clue what they’re doing so I’m helping them get their proper technique and the way to tackle and the way to play the game the right way and help them from getting concussions or getting injured or getting them as much information as you can. It’s unbelievable. A lot of high school coaches and a lot of high school people who do sports still don’t have an understanding of the safety of football. It’s a scary sight. I’ve talked to a number of players and we watch high school games all the time—we watch the technique and the way these coaches are coaching—and it’s scary that a lot of players can get hurt because they’re not taught the proper way to tackle.”