Wayne Hawkins made his mark as a professional football player for the Raiders from 1960-1969 but is now fighting for his health at a major cost.
STORY BY CODY KRUPP
Step by step Wayne Hawkins continues to fight and was a fighter during his days on the gridiron.
“Look at the head hits.” His wife Sharon Hawkins said while looking at Wayne’s Oakland Raider helmet.
“I hit hard, I was used to it. Played hard and accepted it.” Wayne Hawkins said.
A 5-time all-star guard for the Oakland Raiders throughout the 60’s and then a great career off the field as a stockbroker and realtor. In 1998 things began to change.
“Dad keeps calling us and repeating the same story.” Sharon Hawkins remembered from the 1998 phone calls with their sons.
In 2006 he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury that watched his short-term memory slip away.
“By that time Wayne was getting lost on the freeway, he would walk the dog to the park and couldn’t figure out how to get back home.” Sharon Hawkins said.
At that time there was no help at all.
“NFL wasn’t assisting in any way for those with traumatic brain injuries or worse.” Sharon Hawkins said of the time leading up to the diagnoses.
“Hit in the head quite a bit, we didn’t get much from the owners of the team,” Wayne said.
In 2007 the NFL finally stepped in to help its former players. It was called the 88 Plan for former player John Mackey dealing with extensive brain damage. Each were given 88-thousand dollars to help cover medical expenses.
“It covers only medical regarding brain damage, nothing else,” Sharon said of the 88 Plan.
The money coming from the NFL is scheduled to come to an end this March, and this past April life changed even more for Hawkins.
“In April Wayne had both a stroke and the same week a fractured hip replacement. All of a sudden the bills were stacking up and it depleted our personal income as well.” Sharon said.
They are asking for the NFL to step up, a sport and an organization that changed their lives forever.
“Being able to see our grandkids a lot.” Sharon Hawkins said of what this injury has done to their lives.
“I wouldn’t recommend it to a lot of kids.” Wayne finished.