At this point, everyone has heard all those terrifying stories about retired football players’ brains falling apart on them. But years and years of hits add up, and the impacts can stay with you forever. Joe Montana talked to USA Today about what football did to him and it sounds awfully bleak:

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To hear it from Montana, it sounds like he has spent as much time in an orthopedist’s office than he did on the football field. Start with his arthritis, which is in one of his elbows, his knees and his hands.

“My hands have been, oh my gosh, in the middle of the night they hurt like crazy,’’ Montana said.

Then there’s the balky knee he can’t straighten despite a half-dozen surgeries.

Montana says he thought he retired early enough in his career that he could keep leading an athletic life, but that all his injuries added up and have prevented him from running or doing much of anything. He apparently tried to go skiing, but his knees rebelled:

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“I tried a little bit of skiing, but unfortunately when you get weight on one ski under my left knee, it’s just not very strong. After my first back surgery, what kind of compounds things, is my sciatic nerve has been damaged. So the muscles along my sciatic nerve into my left foot have been numb since ’86.’’

Montana’s nerve trouble sounds a lot like what Peyton Manning said about not being able to feel his fingertips. In addition to arthritis, knee problems, back problems, nerve damage in his foot, and three neck fusions, Montana also has nerve damage in his eye:

“It acts like a lazy eye to some degree because every time you’re tired, it kind of goes wherever it feels like a little bit,’’ Montana said. “Not dramatic but just enough where you can’t read or you have to refocus.’’

Aw man. You can read the whole interview at USA Today.

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Photo via Getty