(ENSPIRE Sports) Aaron Hernandez Brings the Question… Will CTE Ever Become A Serious Topic in Football?
ENSPIRE Contributor: Tylah Willis
Football is one of America’s favorite and most viewed sports. Football fans always anticipate the start of the season and are anxious for their favorite team to make it to the Superbowl. But what most football fans don’t realize is the harsh impact each player endures and its long-term damage. Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez committed suicide back in April of 2017 while serving a life sentence for murder. Many people were unsure as to why he took his own life until recently when an autopsy showed Hernandez had an advanced case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). A neurological disorder that many football players develop
CTE is a neurological disorder that many football players develop over time from a constant head impact on the field. This disorder was first presented by Dr. Bennet Omalu after football player Mike Webster’s death in 2002 from CTE. Dr. Omalu believes that Hernandez’s murders and suicide are a direct result from his CTE. Earlier this summer, scientists conducted a research to determine if CTE played a role in the death of many football players. Out of the 202 deceased football players examined, 177 had CTE.
The relationship between impacts on the field and CTE is undoubtedly alarming. The NFL is aware of what harsh impacts can result in for players. In 2016, the NFL settled a concussion lawsuit in regards to former NFL players who were lied to by officials about the dangers of their brain injuries and families of deceased players who had CTE. This was the biggest settlement in sports history averaging up to $1 billion to former players who were lied to.
Although this settlement may seem like the step in the right direction for the families of the players that sued, it does nothing for those who currently play and future players for the NFL. Players who display signs of CTE will not be compensated since symptoms of this disorder is hard to pinpoint. As football fans, we should be able to enjoy the sport but we still have to take into consideration the mental health of football players. Ways to prevent CTE in players are receiving medical attention after every game and always wearing a helmet during games. These simple steps can reduce the chance of players developing CTE and ultimately saves lives. As for now, we have to question, is the neurological disorder ever going to be taken seriously and addressed?