In a day and age when many professional athletes succumb to lust and the pressure of sexual temptation, former NFL Player and Super Bowl-winning tight end Ben Utecht says he wore a wedding band even before he was married to guard against the temptation of sexual sin.
Utecht, the son of a Methodist pastor who grew up to not only star at the University of Minnesota but also play for the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals before his career ended after suffering his fifth documented concussion in 2009, has released a new book detailing his life story so that his wife and four daughters can understand why it is that their husband and father may one day not even recognize who they are.
In his book, Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter to My Family, Utecht explains that he is losing his memories.
After having suffered at least five concussions throughout his playing days and many more traumatic brain injuries that went undocumented during the days of lenient concussion protocols in sports, Utecht is having a hard time recalling many events in his life.
In fact, he writes that he can barely recall the night that he and the rest of the 2006 Colts were given their Super Bowl rings — a moment that anyone who has devoted their life to football would not forget.
As the 35-year-old Minnesota native loses more and more of his memories, he fears that one day he might end up like a number of other former football players — like two-time All-American quarterback Jim McMahon — who have been struggling with early-onset dementia.
Should he one day forget who the loves of his life are, he wants his daughters and wife, Karyn, a former Miss Minnesota, to know that he truly does love them.
"A few years ago, I was asked to testify in a congressional hearing by the NFL Players Association. That is when I first kind of shared this story about writing a love letter to my wife and daughters," Utecht told The Christian Post in an interview earlier this week. "Out of that letter, came my song, 'You Will Always Be My Girls,' which ended up going viral as a music video on YouTube after the congressional hearing."
Utecht, who along with having great athletic abilities is also a great singer, discussed with CP some of the struggles he encountered in college as a devout Christian who became a popular and desirable man on campus since he was the starting tight end of the Golden Gophers football team.
Although Utecht considered himself to be devout in his beliefs, he writes in the book that he got caught up in his pride and popularity and let himself get swept up in the party scene.
As Utecht had dealt with injuries in high school and during his first year in college, which forced him to sit out his first year as a redshirt, he was devastated when he suffered a stress fracture in his foot later in his college career that caused sports agents to lose interest in him as an NFL prospect.
He explains that he got mad at God and felt that he deserved better than to be hurt again. His anger with God caused him to get further immersed in the party culture until he eventually threw his commitments to purity that he made in high school out of the window when he was 21 years old.
Despite losing his pure walk with the Lord, it was a "miracle moment" that led Utecht to get his act together and re-straighten his path with the Lord.
Utecht said that one day when he was hobbling around on crutches, a trainer named Melissa, whom he had never spoken to before, walked up to him and asked if he was Christian.