|Owen Thomas/Courtesy: Penn Athletics/New York Times|
That disease is Chronic Traumatic Encephalpathy...or CTE. CTE had been shown to be a factor in the rash of football players with depression and impulse control problems. There have been at least two former NFL players, thought to have CTE, who have killed themselves in the past several years.
In April of this year, an offensive lineman for the University of Pennsylvania was found hanged in his apartment after suddenly having what was termed "an emotional collapse". An autopsy has concluded that the 21-year old, Owen Thomas, had the early stages of CTE.
Read more on what happened to Thomas in a New York Times story....RIGHT HERE
This disease is a growing concern in the medical and NFL community and it probably should be. Concussions, while a part of the game of football, over time have a cumulative effect on people. It's been proven...over and over again.
On the good side, the NFL has taken note of the problem and is trying to deal...albeit slowly...with the problem. We aren't saying it's solely their problem--it isn't, but as one of the, if not the most violent of the sports, they should take the lead in preventing this.
We fully realize that hits to the head and collisions are a part of football. They always have and they always will be. The trick here is finding a middle ground. Finding a way to control hits to the head. Control the "Knockout" shots. Though it wouldn't have prevented what happened to young Mr. Thomas, if it prevents CTE from forming on someone else, than it will be worth the extra effort.