Five years ago today, former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer shot himself in the head in a suicide attempt. Kramer survived, but brain damage left him unable to process complex decisions like managing the millions of dollars he earned in his playing career. And now a woman who married Kramer the year after his suicide attempt is facing felony charges for taking advantage of him.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has a lengthy profile of Kramer, detailing how he has attempted to recover from both the physical and mental injuries of his suicide attempt.
Among the challenges facing Kramer since that suicide attempt is that in 2016 he married Cortney Baird in a courthouse ceremony that none of his friends or family attended. Kramer now says he was still struggling with an inability to make decisions because of his severe frontal lobe injury, and he couldn’t understand the implications of the marriage.
“It was basically like marrying a 4-year-old,” Kramer said.
Once Kramer got married to Baird, he says, there was no one to protect him from her taking advantage of him. Eventually friends and attorneys helped him get the marriage nullified, but by then he had lost $600,000 between money Baird is accused of taking and money he spent on legal fees to deal with the fallout.
This year Baird was arrested and charged with 12 felonies including elder abuse, identity theft and forgery. She has pleaded not guilty and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for next month.
Kramer’s 13-year pro football career included leading the Lions to their only postseason win in the last 60 years and setting the Bears’ franchise records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season. His life after football has been a difficult struggle, but at age 55 he is working hard to pull himself back together.