Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away

Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away:
A Love Letter to My Family

Ben Utecht with Mark Tabb
(Howard Books)
ISBN: 978-1501136603
August 2016/272 pages/$26.00 Hardcover/$13.99 eBook

After five major concussions, NFL tight-end Ben Utecht of the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals is losing his memories. This is his powerful and emotional love letter to his wife and daughters—whom he someday may not recognize—and an inspiring message for all to live every moment fully.

Ben Utecht has accumulated a vast treasure of memories: tossing a football in the yard with his father, meeting his wife, with whom he’d build a loving partnership and bring four beautiful daughters into the world, writing and performing music, catching touchdown passes from quarterback Peyton Manning, and playing a Super Bowl Championship watched by ninety-three million people.

But the game he has built his living on, the game he fell in love with as a child, is taking its toll in a devastating way. After at least five major concussions—and an untold number of micro-concussions—Ben suffered multiple mild traumatic brain injuries that have erased important memories. Knowing that his wife and daughters could someday be beyond his reach and desperate for them to understand how much he loves them, he recorded his memories for them to hold on to after his essential self is gone.

Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away chronicles his remarkable journey from his early days throwing a football back and forth with his father to speaking about the long-term effects of concussions before Congress, and how his faith keeps him strong and grounded as he looks toward an uncertain future. Ben recounts the experiences that have shaped his life and imparts the lessons he’s learned along the way. Emotionally powerful, inspiring, and uplifting, Ben’s story will captivate and encourage you to make the most of every day and treasure all of your memories.


Ben Utecht is a previous tight end for the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals. As a national speaker, author, and advocate for brain health, Utecht has worked diligently to spread education and awareness regarding concussions, and recently accepted the Ambassador Award presented by the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance. He was the national spokesperson on concussion for the American Academy of Neurology and sits on the board for the American Brain Foundation. The AAN awarded him the 2014 Public Leadership In Neurology Award, which is their most prestigious award.

Music is also a passion for Utecht, and he has made that dream come true by becoming an accomplished professional singer and songwriter. He performs Contemporary and Inspirational concerts, thrilling audiences at corporate and non-profit events, and venues across the country.

Utecht’s 2014 music video for the emotional single, “You Will Always Be My Girls”, has drawn well over a million views on YouTube. The song, which Utecht co-wrote, is a love letter to his wife Karyn and their daughters, as Utecht fears that one day that his brain injuries will lead him to not know them. The touching song serves as his eternal reminder that “his girls” will always be etched in his heart. Utecht has released four albums, and was nominated for a 2012 Dove Award for his Christmas record.

Learn more at his website, www.ben-utecht.com.

Mark Tabb has authored and co-authored over twenty books, including Living with Less, the Upside of Downsizing Your Life (B&H), and the 2004 Gold Medallion finalist, Out of the Whirlwind (B&H). He also collaborated with Stephen Baldwin on the New York Times bestseller, The Unusual Suspect (FaithWords). Mark is currently working with Alec Baldwin on his book, A Promise to Ourselves (St. Martin’s Press).

Visit his website, www.marktabb.com.


I neither read many non-fiction books nor follow professional football but the description proved irresistible, so I signed up to review this book. Oh. my. What an incredible, heart-wrenching memoir. Ben Utecht's love for football is palpable as he recounts the early days of playing in the backyard with his dad and progressing through high school, college, and into the pros. I cringed as I read about his multiple injuries, including the concussions that were minimized as "mild" brain injuries. Utecht's faith shines in his lack of bitterness and steadfast resolve to take intentional steps to provide for his family and ensure that they are confident of his love when his memory loss advances to the point that he no longer recognizes them. This book has stayed on my mind and heart long after I finished it, and it is a must-read for any parent considering their child's involvement in contact sports. It also should cause our society to take a long, hard look at the elevated status we have given sports at the expense of many of the players. Don't miss this compelling story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced digital copy of this book free from Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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