Former St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist and Cards beat writer Jeff Meyers wrote this story a few years ago on Big Red center Bob DeMarco and wanted to share it here.
There was a brief moment when Bob DeMarco considered becoming a TV sports analyst after football. None other than legendary broadcaster Jack Buck was encouraging him to give it a shot.
DeMarco, a 2-time All-Pro center, was a natural for the broadcast booth: gregarious, intelligent, outspoken. But with only three TV networks and no cable channels in the early ‘70s, analyst job openings were rare, and DeMarco needed to feed his family of four in Creve Coeur, Mo.
So when he retired in 1976 after 15 NFL seasons, he took a job selling deflocculants, a chemical additive that prevents flocculation in liquids (look it up).
According to a study in 2017, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was found in 99% of deceased NFL player’s brains that were donated to science. CTE has been linked to repeated blows to the head which is, obviously, is very common among NFL players, in particular, offensive and defensive linemen.
Last year, Jeff Meyers, who covered the Football Cardinals in the early 1970s for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and former Big Red Pro Bowl Center, Tom Banks, collaborated on an unscientific study of 23 former pot-smoking Cardinals who regularly lit-up during the season and sometimes before games. Meyers became curious of how they were doing after watching the movie “Concussion” in 2016.
The results of the “anecdotal evidence” were published in the Winter/Spring 2017 edition of O’Shaughnessy’s, the Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice. The story has been re-printed below with Mr. Meyers’ permission. While most of the players wanted to remain anonymous, a few such as Conrad Dobler, Dale Hackbart, and Banks shared some of their experiences with concussions and how the use of marijuana helped them cope with injuries.