What happened to Darren Waller?

What happened to Darren Waller?

New York Giants tight end Darren Waller recently shocked both the NFL and his fans when he announced his retirement from the game at the age of 31. He revealed his decision in a lengthy YouTube video where he described a recent health scare and how that affected his life moving forward. So what happened?

In the video, Waller talked about a medical emergency he dealt with last season that made him realize how fragile life is. Waller, by the way, is an alcoholic and drug addict who got sober following a scary overdose back in 2017.

Waller revealed he went through a harrowing, unspecified medical emergency last November, something that painted his decision to walk away from his $35 million contract. He said he was driving home one night and started to feel ill. He thought he’d gotten COVID again, but it turned out to be much worse.

“By the time I pull into my parking garage at my condo and get out the car,” he said, “I’m shaking pretty violently, uncontrollably to where I was like ‘This is a little weird, a little different. This one’s just going to be a little more difficult than before, I guess.’” 

He said he kept nodding off and was having difficulty breathing so he called 911. “I think I’m talking clearly on the phone, but they can’t make out much of what I’m saying.”

In those moments before the paramedics arrived, he said he felt like his life was ending.

“I’m there breathing deeply and in between each breath, I’m yelling out, ‘Help!’ ” he shared. “So maybe I could wake the neighbors up. I don’t know how long the time was — it felt like forever — and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m dying on this couch and nobody knows.’ It was kind of similar to my overdose — like the power plug being pulled out and I couldn’t breathe anymore.”

A lot of his life, he said, has been as a “people-pleaser” and he’s struggled with “worth, confidence, feeling valuable.” Despite being a professional athlete and all the trappings that come along with it, he said his “passion” for the game of football has “slowly been fading.”

Following his medical scare, he missed five games from Nov. 5 to Dec. 17. He was put on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury.

“And I say all that because I come out of that experience and I’m sitting in the hospital and I go back into my daily life, and I’m like it’s pretty clear I almost just lost my life,” he said. “And I don’t know if I really feel like if I would’ve died that I would’ve felt great about how my life was going if I died at the time.”

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