Lofa Tatupu is making headlines again, but not for his football success. Instead, the former Seahawks linebacker is advocating for CBD and hemp products to help former athletes, or anyone else, dealing with pain.
Tatupu retired from football in 2012 after suffering from at least 15 concussions by his count and 10 surgeries. He gained 50 pounds and said any motivation was hard to come by.
But in an exclusive interview with KING 5, Tatupu said his life has changed since embracing CBD products and hemp for his pain. He said he was able to ditch numerous other medications he was on, and he can even dunk a basketball now. He said he's never felt better.
Tatupu has now co-founded a company called "Zone In" that produces the same CBD/hemp extract medication he's taking.
Tatupu said he understands some people may be doubtful, but he's hoping to help anyone suffering from mental or physical pain, whether they're an athlete or not.
Tatupu burst onto the national scene as an All-American linebacker at the University of Southern California. Concerns about his size dropped him to the 2nd round (45th overall) of the 2005 NFL draft. He immediately proved his critics wrong, though, and became a fan favorite and led the Seahawks in tackles as a rookie (en route to the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history). He became a 3-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
He told KING 5 his proudest accomplishment in football wasn't a single play or reaching the Super Bowl, but rather, being named a team captain in each of his six seasons in Seattle.
Tatupu's father, Mosi Tatupu, a former Pro Bowl fullback with the New England Patriots, died in 2010 at the age of 54. He was found later to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that has been linked to football-related head trauma.
Tatupu said he found himself in a murky place in the early stages of his retirement, but he's since found his way and wants to help others.