Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University, MA, conducted a study on 91 deceased NFL players to see whether there is a link between football and long-term brain disease. Out of 91 players, 87 (more than 95%) tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease that has been linked to depression and suicidal thoughts in several former athletes.
While these findings are certainly significant, they are not exactly surprising – in fact, they are “remarkably consistent” with previous research. Scientists have suspected for many years that playing the high-contact sport of football raises the risk of serious and long-lasting brain damage. However, this issue didn’t reach public awareness until recently, primarily because of the NFL’s efforts to cover it up.
To this day, the NFL insists that football is safe, even as the list of former players with CTE grows. Here’s a look at some of the more notable cases:
- Defensive back and Super Bowl winner Tyler Sash fatally overdosed on painkillers in 2015. He was only 27 years old. An analysis of his brain revealed that he had an advanced form of CTE that was rare for someone his age.
- Linebacker Junior Seau shot himself just two years after he retired from the NFL. His family donated his brain to be studied, which confirmed he had the condition.
- Former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson also committed suicide by gun at age 50 after reportedly suffering years of cognitive and motor issues. He left behind a note asking for the NFL brain bank to take and examine his brain. It was later confirmed that Duerson had CTE.
And the list goes on and on …
Some may argue that NFL players know what they’re getting into and that the risk of permanent brain damage is worth a professional career and the perks that come with it (is it really?). However, the NFL is in a position to improve their players’ safety, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. After all, it is because of their players that the league pulls in billions of dollars in annual revenue. They could invest a small fraction of that revenue into funding CTE research, better equipment, and other measures for a solution. Their reasons for not doing so are exploitative at best.
Are you a former professional football player struggling with traumatic brain injury? You may be entitled to millions of dollars in compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more about your rights and best legal options, call the experienced NFL Concussions lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm today at (800) 522-7274. We offer free, no obligation consultations.