Conrad Dobler Comments on Memory Loss, Life After NFL Career

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 23, 2016

Athlete Conrad Dobler attends Mike Ditka's Gridiron Greats event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 in Tampa, Florida. (Shea Walsh/APImages for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa)
Associated Press

Retired NFL offensive guard Conrad Dobler revealed some frightening effects that may have resulted from the punishment he took on the gridiron in comments made to USA Today's Josh Peter.

In the interview, which ran Wednesday, Dobler described the toll football had likely taken on him, impacting his immediate family in a chilling way.

"I have six kids; I don't even know their names," he told Peter. "It kind of pisses me off because I prided myself on having such a wonderful memory."

Although that area of his life is frustrating, Dobler explained how he ultimately isn't too bothered by it and how he's grateful for the opportunities football provided for him:

I really don't give a (hoot) about anything other than my score on the golf course. That's the only time (memory loss) really works, is if I can't remember how many strokes I have when I get to the hole. It's always a lot less than I actually have for my score.


I get first-class treatment, and that's pretty nice. ... If I didn't play football, I'd be in the cattle trucks with the rest of the folks.

The then-St. Louis Cardinals selected Dobler out of Wyoming in the fifth round of the 1972 NFL draft. He starred for the franchise, appearing in three straight Pro Bowls from 1975 through 1977, before finishing his career with brief stints as a member of the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills.  

The 65-year-old isn't the only one who's dealt with the apparent consequences of football's innate violence. Earlier in March, a top NFL official said for the first time that there is a link between football and long-term brain damage known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, per's Steve Fainaru.

Results from a Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University study on CTE released in September 2015 revealed 87 of 91 deceased NFL players were diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease, per PBS' Frontline (via Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News).

The overwhelming empirical evidence and unsettling testimonies from former players, such as Dobler, will only heighten the overall focus on player-safety issues at every level of football moving forward.