After The Cheering Stops

I am so, so glad that I decided to read After The Cheering Stops by Cyndy Feasel. I wasn't sure what to expect from the book, and I'm not really into football at all (although I was a cheerleader when I was younger), but I decided to take a chance and read it anyway because it sounded so interesting. I've heard quite a bit in the news lately about CTE and its effects on football players (and sports players in general) and it's something that interests me. This book was a chance to get a unique inside look at what really happens to football players when they develop the debilitating brain disease. The back cover says:

"Former NFL wife Cyndy Feasel tells the tragic story of her family’s journey into chaos and darkness resulting from the damage her husband suffered due to football-related concussions and head trauma—and the faith that saved her.

“If I’d only known what I loved the most would end up killing me and taking away everything I loved, I would have never done it.” – Grant Feasel

Grant Feasel spent ten years in the NFL, playing 117 games as a center and a long snapper mostly for the Seattle Seahawks. The skull-battering, jaw-shaking collisions he absorbed during those years ultimately destroyed his marriage and fractured his family. Grant died on July 15, 2012, at the age of 52, the victim of alcohol abuse and a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Cyndy Feasel watched their life together become a living hell as alcohol became Grant’s medication for a disease rooted in the scores of concussions he suffered on the football field. Helmet-to-helmet collisions opened the door to CTE and transformed him from a sunny, strong, and loving man into a dark shadow of his former self. In this raw and emotional memoir that takes a closer look at the destruction wrought by a game millions love, Cyndy describes in painful and excruciating detail what can happen to an NFL player and his family when the stadium empties and the lights go down. A powerful tale of warning for football moms and NFL wives everywhere, After the Cheering Stops is also a story of the hard-won hope found in God’s presence when everything else falls apart."

Once I picked this book up, I literally couldn't put it down. Cyndy's story was so raw, heartfelt, and honest that it made me tear up several times. She doesn't shy away from tackling extremely difficult subjects and topics and lays out the reality of what happened to her husband, Grant, during and after his time in the NFL. I can only imagine her heartbreak and pain as she watched the loving, caring man she married turn into an alcoholic, abusive monster. I'm so glad that she and her children were at least able to get the closure that Grant was affected by CTE to at least offer some comfort that the man he turned into wasn't truly "him". This is such an important book for every parent to read. Every parent needs to think twice before putting their child into contact sports. I especially loved the afterword by Dr. Amen that details studies he has done at his clinic on NFL players and promising treatments he's developing. I applaud his work and recommend everyone look into this issue that can tend to get swept under the rug or downplayed by sports coaches.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in order to provide an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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