After a football career that included five diagnosed concussions, former Colts and Bengals tight end Ben Utecht began experiencing memory loss at age 30.
A father of three daughters, Utecht has testified on Capitol Hill that one of his girls told the family doctor that she sometimes becomes afraid of her father during his dark spells at home.
"That broke my heart," Utecht told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "It was a wakeup call."
To ensure that his daughters always know he cares for them, even if his concussions rob him of much of his memory, Utecht penned and recorded a heartwarming new song titled "You Will Always Be My Girls."
The 33-year-old Utecht has taken on a second career as a singer/songwriter, and he's performed at venues across the country.
In his new music video, in which Utecht is in a hospital presumably after suffering serious concussions symptoms, he promises he will always cherish his daughters (one is 5, and twins who are 3):
In addition to his work as a singer/songwriter, Utecht has also become a prominent spokesman for organizations that study traumatic brain injury. He participated in the recent White House Concussion Summit and won a public leadership award from the American Academy of Neurology.
Utecht, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Colts in 2006, has experienced common post-concussion symptoms like amnesia, dizziness and sudden mood changes.
"It's really become a mission to help people who are suffering with brain disease,” he told the Star-Tribune. "I didn't begin to care about my mind until I began to lose my mind. You don’t really make it a priority until it begins to be affected.”