“If I’d only known that what I loved the most would end up killing me and taking away everything I loved, I would have never done it.”
These were among the last words spoken to Cyndy Feasel by her late husband, Grant Feasel. He was talking about playing professional football.
Unless you’re a longtime Seattle Seahawks fan of a certain age, you’ve never heard Grant Feasel, who was the starting center and long snapper for the Seahawks from 1987 to 1992 after starting his pro football career with the old Baltimore Colts in 1983. While playing 117 games in the National Football League, Grant was just another anonymous offensive lineman who toiled in the trenches, banging up his battered body with every snap of the ball. Those jarring collisions with powerful nose guards took their toll on Grant in physical, mental, and spiritual ways, which Cyndy describes in her new book, After the Cheering Stops.
“After Grant retired from the NFL, he started drinking to dull the pain that began in his brain—a brain muddled by a history of repetitive trauma and symptomatic concussions,” Cyndy said. “Neither of us knew at the time that he was slowly drinking himself to death—a lingering process that took nearly twenty years. I can assure you that there was collateral damage: our marriage was destroyed, our three children were greatly impacted, and I was left financially reeling. All because my husband played a violent game that entertains tens of millions of football fans every Sunday.”
Life did not end well for Grant. He died at the age of 52 in 2012—much too young. Cyndy watched the man of her dreams die every day in front of her eyes. Today, she faces a bleak future with deep emotional scars that will likely keep her in therapy for the rest of her life.
“Although Grant missed his real gifts and destiny in this world, I believe he’d be cheering me on to share his story as a precautionary tale of what can happen when you play a sport you love but has inherit risks that wreak tremendous physical damage,” Cyndy said.
As an elementary and middle school art teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, Cyndy is already seeing the effects of sport-related concussions on the children her classroom. Since Grant’s death, Cyndy has made it her mission to educate parents, athletes, and their families about the dangers of contact sports and the impact to everyone around them.
After the Cheering Stops is her first book. She is available for media interviews. Contact her through her website a www.cyndyfeasel.com.