Gary Goodridge: The fighter who stayed too long

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ask his friends and they’ll tell you. The changes to Gary Goodridge’s personality happened the same way the brain damage did: gradually, over the course of several years. It wasn’t like he took one big blow to the head and woke up the next day with a mind that could no longer trace the thread of a conversation or remember what he’d had for dinner the night before. It was the little stuff. His speech got a little harder to understand. He didn’t tell as many jokes. He forgot things.

But everybody forgets things. Everybody gets older. So what? Even the people who’d known him since childhood couldn’t say for sure that there was something wrong with Goodridge at first. It was hard to notice, until it wasn’t.

“When talking to him on the phone, his speech was becoming slurred,” said Mike Mobbs, who’s counted Goodridge as his best friend since the two were nine years old, growing up in Barrie, Ontario together. “It got to the point where, when having phone conversations with him, I found myself constantly saying, ‘What did you say? Pardon?’ That, to me, was the tip-off.”

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