Keith McCants has accomplished a lot in his life and is starting his mission to make a difference in the world today.
McCants was born in Mobile, Alabama on April 19, 1968. In high school he was the talk of the state because of his great athleticism in both football and basketball. Keith McCants was great at both sports but his love was always football, so he proceeded on with his chosen career as the linebacker for the University of Alabama. McCants continued his greatness in college so much so that even coaches from other teams were giving him compliments. Billy Brewer, former Ole Miss head coach described McCants as, “The best football player I’ve seen since I came into the conference”. Dennis Erickson, former Miami head coach said McCants was “comparable to Superman I and Superman II”. Impressive compliments! McCants was All American in college as well as Defensive Player of the Year in 1989. In 1990 McCants was drafted 4th overall in the 1st round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCants played in the NFL for teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Houston Oilers, and the Arizona Cardinals improving more and more with each team he played for. McCants retired from the sport in 1995.
But it is not his greatness during his NFL career that he is sharing with people everywhere today, it is what happened after. After McCants retired from the NFL he became addicted to pain medications and was victim of substance abuse and legal problems. Behind all the glory during his college and the NFL he was dealing with lots of pain from his knee he had hurt in college and other injuries he had sustained. In football McCants had a total of 29 surgeries and 6 concussions. In order to keep away the pain and keep McCants on the field the organizations he was a part of would give him multiple pain medications including shots of morphine and shots of cortisone. All this is legal in the NFL and happens a lot. Teams want their players to be able to play; they do not pay them the money they do to just sit on the bench. None of this really presents a problem till after football is over as McCants explains. When McCants retired from the game of football all the pain medications are stopped and no longer legal, so eventually he turned to street drugs to take away the pain. Keith McCants never realized how addicted he was to all the pain medications during football. McCants spent all his money on street drugs along with some being taken from his family and friends, McCants soon became broke.
Eventually Keith McCants realized how bad his situation, got cleaned up, and is now sharing his story to help prevent it from happening to someone else. McCants is traveling to many different high schools and colleges to share his story and to help athletes everywhere become more aware of addiction and the importance of managing their money, so that what happen to him does not happen to them. McCants also has a book coming out soon.
Keith McCants has overcome a lot in his life and he has found a way to make a difference with his struggles by getting his story out there to others. I hope that his story goes a long way and helps many athletes today and in the future to be more aware of things like pain medication addiction and managing their money in the right way. So many times you hear of these things happening to athletes after their careers are over, it is nice to finally hear of someone coming out on top and taking action to prevent it from happening to others. In an interview on 105.3 the Fan Keith McCants said, “I feel the National Football League should put everyone through a rehab or wean them off of whatever they put them on.” I completely agree with him. I feel that it would greatly benefit athletes to be prepared for the real world before they enter it. You cannot just cut someone off of something they have done for many years and expect them to be fine. Now I am not saying things like this are fully the leagues fault, some players move on from the game and are just fine. Also it is up to the athlete to educate themselves and take care of themselves. Still I feel that some kind of awareness before and or some kind of program after an athlete’s career would be beneficial. I fully support what Keith McCants is doing and wish him the best! I look forward to reading his book when it comes out.