Ka'Lial Glaud is a former linebacker for the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys. Ka'Lial and I were at Rutgers together when I was serving the team as a student manager. Since I spent most of my time with the running backs, I didn't have too much interaction with Ka'Lial while we were both in college. It is more likely than not that at some point I helped him put his shoulder pads on before a game. I knew Ka'Lial had seen some success in the NFL, but I was clueless about his now two year long battle with post concussion syndrome (PCS) after a concussion he suffered while fighting for a roster spot on the Dallas Cowboys. Multiple former Rutgers Football co-workers sent me this Vice Sports article, which highlighted Ka'Lial's struggles. Episode 95 starts off by Ka'Lial taking us through the foggy recollection of the concussion that ultimately led to his PCS.
"The hardest thing is not having the opportunity to even try to play football."
“I feel like I can feel my brain”
Although uncertain about the exact hit that has caused Ka'Lial to suffer from symptoms like sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, nausea, headaches and a floating sensation in his brain, a Cowboys veteran could tell something wasn't right and had the medical staff take a look at him. Being a fringe player constantly fighting for a roster spot, Ka'lial was understandably resistant to the Veteran's advice to seek medical attention. Today, Ka'Lial is grateful for that Veteran because he can't even imagine how he would be feeling now if he continued to play. This is the perfect example of #TeamUpSpeakUp in Episode 93.
Despite the debilitating symptoms Ka'Lial experiences on a daily basis, he has not lost hope and continues to have a positive attitude. He also has a relentless approach toward researching and seeking out alternative treatments in hopes of alleviating his symptoms. Ka'Lial encourages all athletes going through similar struggles to never stop fighting, because people do get better and so will you.
"You never think it can ever get worse than what you are feeling."
Below are show notes on other topics discussed during our conversation:
- What can make the game safer?
- The implications of more guaranteed money for pros.
- Discrepancy between how the stars and fringe guys are treated.
- Symptom triggers.
- The importance of Ka'Lial's family in dealing with his symptoms.
- Mental and emotional struggles of PCS.
- Having to pretend like everything is okay.
- Filling the void that your sport once held.
- Ka'Lial was only a couple players away from Eric LeGrand on the kick off that led to his paralysis. He goes into how the injury affected him and his teammates.
- Thoughts on his son playing football.
- Wants to make sure its not who he is, its just what he does.
- Observations on career longevity.
- Focus on recovery.
- The staple move of a linebacker is the Butt and Press.
- We discuss techniques that make the game more dangerous than it needs to be.