Jaclyn Fujita: 'Wish of an NFL Wife'

An NFL wife speaks out about the realities of the NFL that include ALS, concussions and mental anguish.

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The Fujita family

The blogosphere is buzzing about a letter penned by Jaclyn Fujita, the wife of Cleveland Brown's linebacker Scott Fujita. Dave Zirin of The Nation helped bring the letter, which was originally written for catharsis, to the attention of the masses, to give people an idea of what NFL players go through. Jaclyn Fujita was prodded to write the letter after learning of former New England Patriot Kevin Turner's ALS diagnosis during the same week as the suicide of NFL legend Dave Duerson. Her letter demonstrates why NFL-player safety and security is non-negotiable.

EXCERPT from 'Wish of an NFL Wife' by Jaclyn Fujita:

Now I know many don't want to hear our complaints: we made our bed and now we have to lie in it. But what about the pro football players of tomorrow who have no idea what they are stepping into? Boys who are playing football because they love it and have found something they are really good at? They see the pride on their family's faces every time they strap on that helmet, but these young men have no idea of the pain they will endure or the true uncertainty of their career choice. They have no idea how long they will work or when their bodies will say "no" to the abuse. What these men need to know is that as they step on the field and risk major injury -- while generating billions of dollars for this industry -- the billionaires who write the checks are not looking out for them. They need to know that they are going to be lied to. They need to know that when they suffer an injury they will be told they should buck up and play.

But the day will come when they decide to walk away from the sport they played for the last 20 years of their lives. The sport which taught them to play through pain, to never complain, to never stop, to yell, to scream, to hit, to fight, to destroy the man in front of them, to work until they puke, to lay their body on the line every Sunday and just hope that they walk off that field and aren't carried. That day will come when they leave this game -- the game that used them and abused them, yet the game they loved so passionately.

Each man will walk away thinking that if his knees are to give out, hopefully it happens in the next 5 years before his health coverage expires. And if he has to cover himself with money from his own pocket, he will hope it doesn't break him. Insurance companies aren't looking to cover the 10-year veteran pro football player with the pounding migraines and ALS or severe depression that could be lurking just around the corner. His knees and back are sure to give out faster than the average person, and he may lose his mind due to all the concussions.

And here they are, simply asking the men who profit from their work, to please look after their health, as they should have done throughout their career. They ask this so that someday, the young boy who chooses this path knows he will be protected the way he deserves.

Read more on the Notion, The Nation's group blog.

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