Chronic Telepathic Encephalopathy, otherwise known as CTE, is probably a bigger topic than how many Super Bowl’s Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will end up with. It’s the most widely talked about topic in football, and possibly sports in general, right now.
In a recent study, 110 out of 111 deceased football players’ brains were found to have some form of CTE. That’s one brain that didn’t show signs of the disease.
There are currently so many theories out there on what CTE really even is, whether football actually causes it, or whether it’s something that can be detected before someone dies.
As of now, CTE can only be detected through brain studies after a patient has passed. There is Alzheimer’s disease, which is being linked to early on-set CTE but it can’t be confirmed at this time.
A lot of the CTE research and physical traits are science. But, to me, there is a lot of common sense that comes with CTE as well.
Anyone who thinks football doesn’t cause CTE is beyond idiotic. In many players cases, and lineman especially, their heads are banging off of one another on every play. While the helmets players wear are padded and well-prospective, it’s not even close to an end-all-be-all innovation to protect someone from head injuries.
How often have you seen head to head collisions result in people being concussed and literally knocked unconscious? I’ve seen it a ton.
One of my biggest problems, though, are the people who cry for football to be eliminated completely or changed to flag football.
Look, people. That’ll never happen.
Football is one of the biggest sporting draws in all of US sporting events. The Super Bowl contends to be one of the most watched television programs in a calendar year and it happens 11 months before the calendar even turns to a new year. People’s Sundays revolve around football. Some people skip Sunday Mass for football. Others will watch it over their wife’s television programming. It’s even aired on Thanksgiving and last season had a few games on Christmas Saturday.
The players love for the sport runs deep. It shows by the passion and the will to play through injuries every Sunday (or Monday or Thursday) even if they shouldn’t be.
The biggest thing is, these players know the risks they face playing such a high-speed and dangerous sport. They sign the contract full-knowing that one bad headshot could end a career. More importantly, it can impact your life after football, which many fans seem to forget that players still have.
Here’s an interesting soundbite from former quarterback Boomer Esiason on his belief that he has CTE:
As he says, he thinks all players have some form of it due to the head shots they often give and take. He also mentions that players get paid much better and have better benefits than those who played maybe 20 or 30 years ago and obviously further back.
Ask yourself, if those players knew what the current generation of players know now, does the older generation of players still play football?
Likely, the would’ve. But as we see some players like Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, and Brandon Albert retiring at the physical prime of their careers, it makes you wonder what truly would’ve impacted those players. Now, they’ll suffer the consequences.
Consider Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Big Ben has had his fair share of injuries, including concussions, over the years and went so far as almost hanging it up because he wants to be a dad for his kids and now a vegetable. That’s just one case.
That’s why the NFL has a lawsuit against it now with all the individuals who suffered life-altering injuries due to football and the league’s lack of protectiveness for their players.
Many parents are restricting their kids from playing football now because of the dangers and all the studies coming out. If that trend continues, their won’t be anyone to continue to fill out rosters. That shouldn’t be a problem for multiple generations but if large groups begin to quit at a time then eventually there won’t be football anymore.
Can you blame them for blocking their kids from doing it? There are many alternatives out there.
While no sport is really much safer than another, football is very dangerous.
Will that stop anyone from watching? No, including myself.
But do you feel for these families that have to watch their husband, son, father, grandfather, uncle, etc. suffer because he played football? Of course.
CTE is not going away any time soon. It’s going to continue to effect players’ decisions for decades to come. The research will only get more extensive by the day until a cure, or even a way to detect it pre-death, comes out.