A new song written by a former Minnesota Gophers football player is helping to draw attention to brain injury and brain disease.
Ben Utecht is a former Gophers tight end who won a Super Bowl during his playing days in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts. Recently though, Utecht has a new mission -- helping those who are affected by brain disease.
Utecht recently testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Brain disease affects more than just former football players, according to Utecht. In fact, he says 1 in 6 people are affected in their lifetime.
He was forced from the NFL in 2009 after multiple concussions brought about the end of his football career. Recently, the now 33-year-old has been dealing with memory loss.
Last month, Utecht released a song called "You Will Always Be My Girls."
According to the Star Tribune, Utecht wrote it to express his love to his wife and daughters in case his memory loss reaches the point where someday he can not remember them.
While he was diagnosed with five concussions during his football career, Utecht told CBS Radio's The Morning Show he doesn't know how many concussions he may have actually suffered while playing years of tackle football.
"That's an interesting question," Utecht said on the program last week. "As we've learned so much more about concussions, I think back on that career, and even though I retired at 29, I started tackle football in third or fourth grade. That's 20 years."
Utecht said thinking back to all the hits that caused his vision to go blurry or caused headaches afterwards he knows there were definitely more.
The song is so heartfelt and personal to Utecht, his own wife filmed the music video with him.
"These are real fears," Utecht said. "At 33, I'm not facing some of the symptoms – or the level of symptoms – that some of the players are in their early 50s. But the fears of that happening are real. And that's what the letter was about."
Utecht said the song has almost become an anthem for those affected with brain disease.
With his new music career, Utecht has another goal in mind. He would like to become the first Super Bowl champion to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, preferably in 2018, when Super Bowl 52 will be played in Minnesota.