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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Dave Moore figures he had more than a dozen concussions.
Dave Moore estimates he had more than a dozen concussions while playing 15 punishing seasons as an NFL tight end.
And, as one might imagine, he became quite adept at recognizing the symptoms. But they weren't the sort of characteristics you might expect.
"When you get a concussion, people always think you get knocked out," said Moore, who retired after last season and is about to begin his first season as the Bucs' radio analyst.
"Not me. With me, I knew when I got a good shot because when I was walking back to the huddle, I would kind of start to remember random things. It was like your mind is a record and it skips backward.
"I remember walking to the huddle once and remembering building a snowman when I was a kid. I remember thinking in my mind, 'Man, now I know I'm really dinked.' "
It happened so often that teammate and close friend Mike Alstott would spring into action whenever Moore suffered his latest concussion.
The two had something of a system in place to help Moore get by.
"You'd get in the huddle and the quarterback will call a play and I would look at him and think, 'He just made that up. I've never heard that play before,' " Moore said. "Then I would ask Mike, 'What am I doing on this play?'
"You try to help each other. It was the same with Keyshawn Johnson. He would get belted going over the middle and I would tell him, 'Okay, you've got a slant on this play. Ready?' "
Moore, 37, said players suffer concussions from different types of impacts.
Some he played with were prone to sustaining them when their heads hit the turf. For him, he said a hit to the temple area always seemed to result in a concussion, while he curiously was able to shake off most straight-on, helmet-to-helmet hits. Moore added that the effects were different for every player.
"Some guys lose their memory, some guys feel wobbly," he said. "I was always a guy whose memory would go. Usually it would go about five or 10 minutes, where you're a little foggy and then it would start to come back. But then you'd have some like the one I had where I got in my truck after the game and I couldn't remember where I lived.
"But usually, (trainer) Todd Toriscelli would take away my helmet and give me three words to remember. He would come back in five minutes and if I couldn't remember them, I was done."
Most days, Moore tries to avoid dwelling on the possible long-term affects. But he isn't naive enough to think there won't be any.
"When you hurt your joints, you know, okay, I have this range of motion, I'm going to have this sort of pain, I might have arthritis. But at least you know," Moore said. "With concussions, it's scary because, well, what happens 10 years from now?"