Sports

McMahon opens up about his fight with early onset dementia, suicidal thoughts

  • Former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago.  McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. McMahon is part of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health. He led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1985 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)

    Former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago. McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. McMahon is part of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health. He led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1985 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)  (The Associated Press)

  • Laurie Navon, girlfriend of former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago.  McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. McMahon is part of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health. He led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1985 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)

    Laurie Navon, girlfriend of former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago. McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. McMahon is part of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health. He led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1985 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago.  McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. McMahon is part of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health. He led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1985 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)

    Former NFL football quarterback Jim McMahon speaks during a news conference Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in Chicago. McMahon spoke of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the league. McMahon is part of a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health. He led the Chicago Bears to victory in the 1985 Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Stacy Thacker)  (The Associated Press)

At his darkest moments a few years ago, when the pain in his head was just about too much to bear, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon thought about killing himself.

If he kept weapons at home, he says, he is "pretty sure I wouldn't be here."

McMahon discussed his struggles with early onset dementia and depression Tuesday, issues that he believes were brought on by the beating he absorbed playing football. He is scheduled to be honored Wednesday in Chicago by the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston University-based group that has been studying the effects of brain trauma in athletes and others.

While the suicidal thoughts are a thing of the past, the fight with dementia continues. He is also digging in for a battle with the NFL.