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Former NFL Running Back Helps Others After Alcoholism Cost Him His Career

Montee Ball remembers the day he could have changed the course of his career. The Denver Broncos' running backs coach, Eric Studesville, smelled the alcohol coming from Ball during practice, then confronted him kindly, in private. Ball later said, “He pulled me to the side and asked me if I needed any help, any resources. And I told him no.”

Alcoholism cut Ball's career short soon thereafter: He fell out of the NFL after just two seasons. Then in February 2016, he was arrested on charges of a felony battery against his girlfriend at the time. Ball said,

The straw that broke the camel's back was obviously the domestic-violence situation. When I landed in jail ... in my head I'm like, “Okay, I've never done anything like this, what is going on with me?” And that pushed me over the edge in a good way to go to therapy. For the entire part of my drinking life, I wasn't being honest with myself. But by being honest with myself, but reaching out for help, by sticking with my therapy, it feels that I am the most free, that burden has been lifted off my shoulders.

Six years later, he's working to ensure that as few people as possible miss the opportunity he did back then. Ball has become a key figure in programs dedicated to recovery and social work. He also hosts a podcast called "Untapped Keg" which highlights the experiences of people overcoming addiction and other mental-health issues.

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