‘All foot­ball play­ers prob­a­bly have’ CTE, Esi­a­son says

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DES BIELER

More than a few cur­rent and for­mer Na­tional Foot­ball League play­ers have re­cently ex­pressed con­cern that they might have chronic trau­matic en­cephalopa­thy (CTE), a neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive disease that stud­ies have linked to the sorts of con­cus­sive and sub-con­cus­sive im­pacts com­mon in foot­ball. On Mon­day, Boomer Esi­a­son went a step fur­ther, claim­ing that he “likely” has the con­di­tion, as do “all foot­ball play­ers.”

Esi­a­son, a 56-year-old for­mer NFL MVP who ended a 14-year ca­reer in 1997 and be­came a CBS foot­ball an­a­lyst, was dis­cussing the is­sue on “Boomer and Car­ton,” his New York sports-ra­dio show. Not­ing the dead­line Mon­day for for­mer NFL play­ers to reg­is­ter for the league’s $1 bil­lion set­tle­ment in a class-ac­tion law­suit over its han­dling of brain in­juries, Esi­a­son was mak­ing the point that po­ten­tial cases of CTE in liv­ing play­ers — he thought such di­ag­noses might be pos­si­ble in a few years’ time — were “carved out” of the set­tle­ment.

“If I died tomorrow and my brain ba­si­cally was taken and re­searched and I was found to have CTE, which most likely I have,” he said, be­fore co-host Craig Car­ton asked why he thought that was the case.

“Be­cause I think all foot­ball play­ers prob­a­bly have it,” said Esi­a­son.

Esi­a­son clar­i­fied that he thought many peo­ple who have suf­fered brain in­juries in a va­ri­ety of sports could be sub­ject to CTE, or at least symp­toms thereof. Not­ing that Car­ton had “played soc­cer,” the for­mer Ben­gals, Jets and Car­di­nals quar­ter­back told his co-host, “You’ve had a head in­jury, you’ve had a num­ber of con­cus­sions your­self, you might have had a car wreck, where you hit your head or some­thing like that — I wouldn’t be sur­prised if you had it, as well.”

His com­ments on CTE were couched in a more mat­ter-of-fact way, but Esi­a­son echoed some of the thoughts re­cently of­fered by Ter­rell Davis. Speaking on Fri­day, shortly be­fore he was in­ducted into the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame, the for­mer Bron­cos run­ning back said, “I can’t lie, we’re all scared.”

“We’re con­cerned be­cause we don’t know what the fu­ture holds,” the 44-year-old Davis said of him­self and other ex-NFL play­ers.

“When I’m at home and I do some­thing, if I for­get some­thing I have to stop to think, ‘Is this be­cause I’m get­ting older or I’m just not us­ing my brain, or is this an ef­fect of play­ing foot­ball?’ I don’t know that.”

A study pub­lished in July bol­stered the pro­posed link be­tween foot­ball and CTE, as it found that 110 of 111 brains of de­ceased NFL play­ers showed signs of the disease. “The time for deny­ing facts and look­ing the other way is over,” Con­gress­woman Jan Schakowsky, DIll., said in a re­lease pegged to the study.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.