Colts Owner Jim Irsay Shares Harrowing Encounter with Addiction: ‘My Breath Ceased’

Colts owner Jim Irsay recalls near-death experience due to addiction: ‘I stop breathing’

How the Battle with Addiction Nearly Claimed the Life of NFL Team Owner Jim Irsay

A Life of Success and Struggles

Jim Irsay, the charismatic owner of the Indianapolis Colts, is widely known for his passion for football and his commitment to his team. However, behind the façade of success, Irsay had been fighting a silent battle with addiction for decades. In a recent interview, Irsay opened up about his near-death experience, shedding light on the severity of his addiction and the impact it had on his life.

A Prominent NFL Figure Struggling with Addiction

As the son of renowned NFL owner Robert Irsay, Jim Irsay grew up immersed in the world of football. He inherited the Colts from his father in 1997, becoming the youngest owner in the league at the time. Under his leadership, the Colts achieved great success, winning the Super Bowl in 2007 and making several playoff appearances.

Despite his professional achievements, Irsay faced personal demons that plagued him for years. His addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol escalated, leading him down a dangerous path that nearly cost him his life.

The Breaking Point

Irsay’s struggle with addiction reached its breaking point in March 2014 when he was arrested for driving under the influence. Police discovered a large amount of prescription drugs in his car, and he was later charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. It was this incident that finally pushed Irsay to confront his addiction and seek help.

A Glimpse of Death

In a candid interview, Irsay recounted the terrifying experience that changed his life. He described a moment when his addiction had taken such a toll on his body that he momentarily stopped breathing. The gravity of the situation hit him as he realized how close he had come to losing his life to his addiction.

Irsay’s near-death experience served as a wake-up call, propelling him to embark on a journey towards recovery and sobriety. He entered rehab and committed himself to a life free from the clutches of addiction.

A Message of Hope and Redemption

Following his rehabilitation, Irsay has become an advocate for addiction recovery and mental health awareness. He uses his platform as an NFL team owner to inspire others and break the stigma surrounding addiction. By sharing his story, he hopes to encourage those struggling with addiction to seek help and find the strength to overcome their own battles.

The Road to Recovery

Irsay’s recovery has not been without challenges. Addiction is a lifelong battle, and he acknowledges the importance of ongoing support and therapy to maintain sobriety. He emphasized the role of a strong support system, including family, friends, and professionals, in helping him stay on track.

As he continues his own journey, Irsay remains committed to providing resources and support to others facing similar struggles. He has worked to implement programs within the Indianapolis Colts organization that prioritize the mental health and well-being of players, coaches, and staff.


Jim Irsay’s near-death experience serves as a stark reminder that addiction can affect anyone, regardless of their success or status. His story is a powerful testament to the fact that seeking help and finding the strength to overcome addiction is possible. By using his platform to share his struggles, Irsay aims to break the silence surrounding addiction and provide hope and support to those who need it most.


Avi Adkins

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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