LAFAYETTE- Clay Rush says he has been an athlete for most of his life. He played soccer and football in high school and went on to play football in college. Rush says after he graduated, he spent ten years playing professionally in the Arena Football League and attended many NFL camps.
Rush says in 2008 he received two concussions in back-to-back games and was never treated properly for them. Because of that, Rush says he is now dealing with lifelong head trauma.
"You're just in a fog and you go into a dark realm of thinking. It's a struggle, not being able to deal with any type of noise or family," Rush said.
Rush uses special sunglasses to help him deal with bright lights, which he says give him pain and headaches. He has to bring the glasses everywhere he goes. Throughout the years, Rush says he has gone through countless operations and takes dozens of pills to help him with the pain.
Many of the procedures have been dangerous, but he says he goes through with them because they're his only source of relief.
"I stopped breathing the last time, but I have to do it; they help me," Rush said.
Doctors say the NFL's new concussion policy is a step in the right direction. The NFL says they have a certified athletic trainer who watches games and looks for potential injuries.
They also have a detailed plan in place that thoroughly assesses players for concussions. The team puts an athlete with a potential injury through a series of tests and if they do have a concussion they're closely monitored and can't return to the field until they're cleared by two doctors.
"They've really implemented some good policies and I think some of the policies that they're using are universal now and common from the NFL down to teams at various different levels," Dr. Todd Sweeney with the Sports Concussion Center of Colorado said.
Rush says he's happy to see the changes the NFL has implemented. He spent most of his years playing for the Arena Football League, and wishes there was a similar policy in place when he was playing.
However, he's hoping the new changes will prevent other players from leading the life he is living.
Rush sued his former Arena Football League doctor and won. On Tuesday, former Bronco Craig Morton filed suit against the NFL. Morton says he has long term effects and claims the league failed to protect him.
In August, the NFL settled a class-action suit with thousands of former players for $765 million.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)