The former UCLA Bruin, Terry Tautolo who has played 9 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), but spent majority of his retirement in homelessness. For some former players life after the stadium tunnels is glamorous fill with luxury vacations, guest appearances, and pensions; however, life for Tautolo has been a downward spiral. From living in abandon houses, animal shelters to tunnels under Los Angeles freeways. The once fearsome Linebacker who is now 58 live a life battling drug abuse, alcoholism, and depression as a result of multiple concussions he sustained over his 9-year NFL career.
After a long battle with depression and addiction to methamphetamine and alcoholism, Tautolo is turning his life around with the help from the Pain Alternatives, Solutions and Treatment or P.A.S.T. medical group and the Sierra Tucson Treatment Center. P.A.S.T. is providing hope to a number of former retired NFL, NBA, NHL players and others who suffer from the symptoms known to be related to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and head trauma.
To understand Tautolo’s journey to homelessness, we need to make a journey to understand the determinants of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its long-term effects. “We’ve known for a long time traumatic brain injury is associated with drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, suicide, panic attacks, not sleeping, homelessness, trouble with your marriage and trouble with your job,” said Dr. Daniel Amen.
Currently, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against the NFL involving upwards of 3,500 former players who allege the NFL for the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury.