Eric Kester was a ball boy in 2003 when he was just 17 years old, but he saw things that are troubling him to this day.

In a column originally published in the New York Times, Kester talks about extreme violence, substance abuse, and hard hits in the NFL.

Kester says in the article that one of his duties was to carry smelling salts and when a player needed to be snapped back from a hard hit he pulled them out.  TV broadcasters were told to ignore the salts.

Vomiting, nervous system failure, and lack of fine motor skills are all symptoms Kester witnessed on the sidelines and in the lock room.  He says he was even tasked with opening gum for a player whose fingers just couldn't do it.

Kester claims the substance abuse and violence off the field have a lot to do with what the players endure on the field.  He is calling for more support for the players both on and off the field in order to save the game.

The article is super interesting for fans of the NFL, and people like me, who believe that several important changes need to be made to the organization.  Here's hoping the NFL will take notice and make those changes.

Click here to read more from Eric Kester.