Jan 6, 2013 8:43 PM by Eric Ross

NFL players pay visit to Fort Carson soldiers

FORT CARSON- More and more soldiers returning home are having a hard time transitioning from military life to civilian life.

They often deal with PTSD and depression---medical issues that can go untreated for years.

On Sunday, Fort Carson decided to try out a relatively new, fun approach to convince soldiers to seek treatment.

Chris Sanders was a rising star in the mid 1990's.

An aspiring football player, he got a lucky break with the Houston Oilers in 1995. A few years later, he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans and earning a yearly salary of $2.5 million. 7 years later, it all came to an end.

"Even though I wasn't in a war, my war just started," Sanders said. "My finances blew up and my marriage blew up."

Sanders went through a brief era of deep depression. It's something thousands of soldiers deal with after returning home.

Many don't like to admit they have a problem and will deny medical treatment---that's where the NFL comes into play.

"It's hearing a real life story from somebody that they can relate to on a day-to-day basis," Mike O'Donnell with Fort Carson said.

Sanders and two other NFL stars shared their personal stories about losing everything, living in denial and not seeking help until it was almost too late.

"You go through depression and doubt," Sanders said. "I just think that if somebody hears that you go through the same thing, they'll know there's help available and that they can get help."

The assistance is available, yet many soldiers admit it's not easy for them to ask for help.

"It can be tough," Master Sgt. Jason Arnold said. "You want to hold it in within yourself. You want to do the best you can by yourself."

Sanders says it was that attitude that led him to hit rock bottom.

"If you go through those things by yourself, it will literally kill you," he said.

He hopes that sharing his battles both on and off the field will help soldiers make the right choices during an often rough transition.

After speaking with about a dozen soldiers, Sanders stuck around to watch the Seahawks battle the Redskins with them.




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