NFL Insists Football Is Safe Even As List Of Players With CTE Grows

The Super Bowl is a beloved American tradition, with a heavy cash flow that results back to the ad places this year went for as much as$ 5 million and spectators were willing to pay $4,600 for game day tickets at secondary merchants.

As the NFL’s coffers have grown, the league has increasingly been able to deflect some of the concerns over potential impacts the game has had on the lives of players by expanding its influence on research.

Yet, the disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy( CTE) has been diagnosed in 87 out of 91 former NFL playersas of 2015 and have continued trigger debates on the fate of the game’s futureranging from peewee leagues to the pros.

Even after more than 5,000 ex-players sued the NFL, saying it hid the dangers of head traumata, the league has so far denied claims the athletic is dangerous.

Just two days ago, league Commissioner Roger Goodell doubled down on the game’s safety and said he’d even promote his young son to play football .

Every case of diagnosed CTE has had one thing in common: a history of repetitive hittings to the head. Robert Stern, director of clinical research for Boston University’s CTE center

Doctors have known about CTE since the 1920 s, when it was primarily associated with boxers and referred to as “dementia pugulistica, ” according to , director of clinical research for Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

The link between CTE and football didn’t pick up steam until 2005 when forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu( recently played by Will Smith in the film “Concussion”) published research following his diagnosis that retired NFL star “Iron Mike” Webster had CTE.

“It took the diagnosis in a professional football player, after death, to make this more of a salient topic, even though we’ve known about it in boxers for so long, ” said Stern, who has been notably critical of the league.

CTE is a degenerative disease that’s similar in ways to Alzheimer’s disease, but also different from other brain illness in that it’s neither a brain injury nor cumulative.

“The thing with CTE that’s different with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative illness is that we know the thing that gets it started — exposure to repetitive head impacts, ” Stern said. “CTE is a that get started early in life.”

Symptoms of CTE include cognitive impairment like memory and multitasking; mood problems like depression and apathy; behavior changes like aggressivenes and impulse control; and, most rarely, motor problems like body tremors or difficulty constructing facial expressions.

CTE manifests itself in different ways depending on the person, and can be present for decades before symptoms are visible.

“You have younger guys like Junior Seau or Dave Duerson who were very young and had years of suicidal thoughts, and you have other people like Frank Gifford, who had dementia, ” Stern said, who has observed CTE in people as young as 18.

Last week, former NFL quarterbacks Ken Stabler and Earl Morrall were added to the growing list of players who had CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death.

“We’re still actually at the beginning of our understanding about this disease, ” Stern said. “But every occurrence of diagnosed CTE has had one thing in common: a history of repetitive hittings to the head.”

As the list of former NFL players with CTE grows, here’s a look at some of the most prominent examples 😛 TAGEND

Ken Stabler, 69

Ed Kolenovsky/ Associated Press

Quarterback Ken Stabler died in 2015 at persons under the age of 69 due to colon cancer. Less than a year later, he was diagnosed with Stage 3( on a scale of 1 to 4) CTE. The New York Times said Stabler was “sapped of his spirit” by the disease.

Tyler Sash, 27

Jason O. Watson/ Getty Images

Defensive back and Super Bowl winnerTyler Sash died in 2015 at the age of 27 due to a analgesic overdose. After his family donated Sash’s brain, Boston University researchers saidhe had CTE that”advanced to a stage rarely seen in someone his age.”

Frank Gifford, 84

Associated Press

In 1960, the legendary running back turned sports anchorsuffered one of the most brutal hittings in NFL history, leaving him unconscious on the field and out of committee for an entire season. Gifford’s family had his brain examined after his 2015 death from “natural causes” and uncovered months later he had CTE.

Junior Seau, 43

Charles Krupa/ Associated Press

Linebacker Junior Seau had been retired from the NFL for just two years when he shooting himself in the heart in 2012. His household ultimately donated his brain to be studied, which confirmedhe had the disease.

“I think it’s important for everyone to know that Junior did indeed suffer from CTE, ” ex-wife Gina Seau said after receiving the results. “It’s important that we take steps to help these players. We surely don’t want to see anything like this happen again to any of our athletes.”

Mike Webster, 50

George Gojkovic/ Getty Images

Mike Webster’s 2002 autopsy has been called the examination that “changed football.”Neuropathologist Bennet Omalu’s resulting report that linked playing football to CTE was the focus of a Frontline investigation and the feature film “Concussion” — and sparkedcountless conversations about the safety of the game.

Earl Morrall, 79

Kidwiler Collection/ Getty Images

When quarterback Earl Morrall died in 2014 at age 79 due to issues with Parkinson’s, he had the most severe nation of CTE, his family later corroborated.

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