He can see, but he is not permitted to drive.
He can read and watch TV, but not for long stretches.
These days, Jack Hesselbrock is not quite comfortable leaving the house.
Talking to the longtime TCU associate athletic director on Tuesday was heart-breaking because of the obvious discomfort he is in and the considerable powerlessness he feels.
"It is a little scary because I am at retirement age, and I never thought I might not be able to drive again or do the things that you associate with retirement," he said.
For nearly two decades, Hesselbrock has been a constant at TCU athletic events and is one of the department's last active ties to the Southwest Conference.
A condition in his right eye, which has bothered Hesselbrock for years, grew so bad he had to stop working. He expects to leave the department at some point but is unsure of a date.
He is 60, and the career is no longer his priority. Seeing is.
"I had a procedure in April and I thought it might help," Hesselbrock said. "The retina is wrinkled. There is scar tissue. It may never heal. I don't know. It could be five years or never."
In the early 1980s, Hesselbrock suffered a detached retina. He suffered another in 2006. Since then, he's had other issues develop in the eye, among them glaucoma and cataracts. He had implants along the way.
"This last year was really the hardest," he said. "I had a few fender benders, and it was really difficult doing work or doing any type of extensive reading."
The vision in his left eye is not perfect. Eventually, both eyes will be affected.
He has not been able to work since approximately March, which has left administrators wondering about his future.
"I really don't feel comfortable leaving the house at this point," he said. "I really don't want to overdramatize it. It's the first time I've felt vulnerable out and about."
As his condition did not improve, he contemplated leaving a department he has been part of since 1988.
"It's a fast-paced world, and over the years, the management team has gotten younger and it's healthy," he said. "It was a case of me asking, 'Can I maintain this? Can I keep up? Can I do it and be fair to the university and to myself?' It was just one of those things where I could see the end coming."
How he has remained on staff despite the constant change of TCU athletics is a major testament to his ability to work with new athletic directors, influential boosters and senior campus administrators.
The only thing missing from his résumé at TCU was to be named athletic director, which he clearly wanted but was never offered.
He graduated from TCU in 1982 and eventually landed a position as the academic coordinator of TCU athletics in 1988. He was named an associate athletic director of internal affairs in 1999.
He served the last eight years as the department’s associate director of athletics.
In the spring of '98, when TCU vice chancellor William Koehler led a push for the school to invest heavily in athletics and effectively cleaned out the department, Hesselbrock was one of the few to remain in a high-ranking capacity.
Then new athletics director Eric Hyman leaned on Hesselbrock considerably to handle a variety of duties in regard to football, men’s basketball and volleyball, among other tasks.
It was Hesselbrock who led the push to get former TCU basketball player and longtime NBA forward Kurt Thomas his degree. The same for running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Hyman’s successors, Danny Morrison and Chris Del Conte, both leaned heavily on Hesselbrock, who in his long tenure with TCU became one of the more beloved families in the department.
In 2004, Jack and his wife, TCU grad Angie Ahten, lost their young daughter, Molly, after a long fight with cancer. He and his family regularly visit Molly's final resting place, including on Sunday for Father's Day.
The couple have two other children, Brooke, 21, and Alex, 23. The entire family are TCU grads or students.
"Previous events prepare you for the worst, and there is nothing worse than that. The world didn't stop when we lost Molly," he said. "Things change and evolve, and you just need to enjoy the ride and understand that. Even when it's hard."