And why I am starting to have trouble watching Football at all (which is sad because I love, love, love watching Football. So much.)
In December of last year, Cincinnati Bengals’ receiver, Chris Henry, died after falling off the back of a truck. He was 26.
Today results of an autopsy on his brain have been released and they are shocking. And scary, especially for people who have played football on any level for a sustained amount of time. From ESPN,
Chris Henry, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver who died in a traffic accident last year, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a form of degenerative brain damage caused by multiple hits to the head — at the time of his death, according to scientists at the Brain Injury Research Institute, a research center affiliated with West Virginia University. […]
Researchers have now discovered CTE in the brains of more than 50 deceased former athletes, including more than a dozen NFL and college players, pro wrestler Chris Benoit and NHL player Reggie Fleming.
Repeated blows to the head are the only known cause of CTE, researchers say. Concussive hits can trigger a buildup of toxic tau protein within the brain, which in turn can create damaging tangles and threads in the neural fibers that connect brain tissue. Victims can lose control of their impulses, suffer depression and memory loss, and ultimately develop dementia. […]
For years, the NFL and its affiliated researchers disputed a scientific evidence linking concussions to long-term brain damage. However, referring to reports of CTE among former players, NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee co-chair Richard Ellenbogen told The New York Times earlier this month, “They aren’t assertions or hype — they are facts.”
In April, the league announced a $1-million gift to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University.
For more on this topic, which has been making news for at least six months now, see Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker piece from October 2009, “Offensive Play: How different are dogfighting and football?”