Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Head Case 

Experts say ex-football players with head injuries often end up in the criminal justice system. Former USC lineman Chris Brymer is exhibit A.

Wednesday, Sep 29 2010

Page 6 of 6

Seth Steward, spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's office, says prosecutors are careful to evaluate a defendant's mental capacity, particularly as it relates to his state of mind and intentions when an alleged crime was committed. "We definitely take that stuff into consideration," he says. In Brymer's case, however, Steward says it's unclear whether any mental disorder is present in the first place: "I don't even know if we have any evidence of that yet."

The people's case against Chris Brymer, the offensive guard who fell apart after years of protecting others on the field, begins just a few days from now. Regardless of its results, the punishment Brymer's mental and emotional snap has exacted on himself and those close to him can already be tallied.

Melissa Brymer, for one, feels sick as she watches the 7-year-old child she had with Chris — who is not allowed to make contact with his son, according to court restrictions following their divorce — grow to resemble his absent dad more and more. "He's already a foot taller than everyone else in his class. He looks like a lineman already, and I'm terrified," she says.

Chris Brymer's situation, like that of other former football players coping with probable CTE, creates uncomfortable questions for those who watch, play, or make money from our preferred national spectacle. To what extent are we complicit in the havoc football might be wreaking on individual lives? What special consideration do we owe the sport's broken athletes, in the courtroom or outside it?

For Melissa Brymer, who witnessed the aftermath of her ex-husband's professional sports career, the question raised by CTE is more immediate. Will she let her boy play football, running the same risks as his father?

"I could never see my son turn hollow like that," she says. "I do not want him anywhere near the sport."

About The Author

Peter Jamison


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"