Former NFL linebacker George Koonce recently submitted to Marquette University a doctoral dissertation on transitioning from life outside the game. This column represents his personal experience, as told to NFC West blogger Mike Sando.
I had a wonderful wife, beautiful children, money in the bank and a Super Bowl ring back on that day in 2003 when my post-NFL transition took my Chevy Suburban around a 25-mph corner at three times the posted speed.
Whatever happened that day was going to happen. I didn't really care.
By the grace of God, I survived what was, in retrospect, a suicide attempt. But paramedics weren't going to cart me off. No chance. The football tough guy in me refused to get into that ambulance. My wife, Tunisia, drove me to the hospital and saved my life with words, not medicine.
"George," she said, "I don't understand what you are going through, but I sympathize. We cannot reinvent who you are, but we can redefine who you are."