MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) — A player on the Miami Dolphins’ undefeated 1972 team cited neurological problems he says he has from concussions during his career as he pleaded guilty Friday to punching a man in the face in New Jersey.
In entering the plea, Henry Stuckey told the judge that concussions he suffered during a five-year career as a defensive back with the Dolphins and New York Giants have affected his memory.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault against another resident of his Atlantic City apartment complex, and Judge Bernard DeLury sentenced Stuckey to three years’ probation, the Press of Atlantic City reported (http://bit.ly/2qeyCkI ).
Attorney Ed Thompson said medical records show Stuckey has a cognitive impairment.
Stuckey said he should have run from the altercation rather than punching the man. He said he’s glad he didn’t hurt the man worse than he did and told the judge he is going on medication and taking anger management lessons.
“All those concussions gave me an irresponsible way of analyzing stuff,” he said.
A federal judge in February urged NFL retirees to register for a concussion settlement that could cost the league $1 billion over 65 years. About 22,000 retirees are encouraged to get baseline neurological testing. The league expects more than 6,000 of them to eventually be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The settlement comes from a class-action lawsuit that accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the link between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has been found in dozens of former players after their deaths.
Stuckey told the newspaper his head injuries included being knocked unconscious while trying to tackle Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Franco Harris in a 1973 game.
He said he still has his two Super Bowl rings from his time with the Dolphins. But he said he wouldn’t play football if he had to do it again.
“I can’t sit down, I can run but I have to stop because I get dizzy,” he told the newspaper. “We come out of there beat up, really beat up.”