CTE threatens football’s future

Jacob Steinberg, Sports Columnist

Football, a sport that is so popular that it takes up our entire Sunday, may not be America’s Pastime, but it is the king of all sports in our country. The players who put on pads, spikes, and helmets stun us with their extremely gifted athleticism.

Many players sacrifice their body to play the game they love. Football is becoming a gladiator sport. Injuries dominate the NFL and NCAA football teams yearly and concussions are a huge problem in football, especially the effects it has on the human brain.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, known as CTE, is a disease that is often found in the brains of many football players who have suffered many concussions throughout their careers. It is caused by repetitive blows to the head during a players’ career. Brain damage is permanent, and it changes the lives of many football players beyond their careers on the field.

This horrible disease is taking professional and collegiate football by storm, with a few players retiring early due to the fear of their future lives. In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, 99 percent of the brains of deceased NFL players contained CTE.

CTE is a huge problem for many football players, old or young. The scary thing is that it can only be fully detected after death. Researchers are desperately trying to find ways to detect it while one is alive, and hopefully find treatment options for it. But the science for treating CTE is still in the early stages, which means it may take several years to come up with treatment options.

Many former football players who were diagnosed with the disease have committed suicide. Most recently, Stage 3 CTE was detected in the brain of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was convicted of murder. It was “the most severe case they have ever seen for Aaron’s age,” said Jose Baez, the attorney for Hernandez. Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell last April.

Former NFL players have attempted to sue the league for “failing to protect players from concussions.” The NFL is expected to pay $1 billion to former players over the next 65 years for injury settlements. Although it is helpful for the players, there are still a lot of players at risk for CTE, amateur of professional.

It is important to know how players make millions from playing football, but football also has a dark side. If something is not done to help those suffering from CTE, the sport of football could be facing a crisis that could threaten its future.