Link: They Made History at Alabama. But Football Stardom Had a Price. (article)

TexasBama

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bamaslammer

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I don't want to discount how important it is to continue to work to eliminate or treat CTE but there is an ugly truth that most don't want to know. A great number of people before they die will exhibit the same behaviors mentioned in this article, The anger, the outbursts, the difficult to watch moments are more indicative of a brain that is dyeing more so than it being a symptom of CTE. I've seen it up close and personal.
 

selmaborntidefan

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I don't want to in any way be dismissive of any of this. In all honesty, CTE from those days is probably even more likely than now simply due to advancements in what we know about protecting the head, etc.

But let me add - without disputing the conclusion - that Ray Perkins suffered a blood clot on his brain in 1963 that was so severe Coach Bryant himself thought Perkins would never wear a uniform again even to practice. They drilled two holes in his head just to relieve the pressure. YES, he had CTE, but Ray Perkins also had OTHER ISSUES that are not even mentioned here and are well-known by Alabama fans of the time (and those of us who devour everything we can read about the program).

I think we're going to find CTE is inevitable if you play football for any length of time. I mean, Brett Butler blamed his cancer for dipping snuff for a few months early in his MLB career - and he might have even been correct.

CTE is the pardon the pun elephant in the room on football.
 

CB4

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I don't want to discount how important it is to continue to work to eliminate or treat CTE but there is an ugly truth that most don't want to know. A great number of people before they die will exhibit the same behaviors mentioned in this article, The anger, the outbursts, the difficult to watch moments are more indicative of a brain that is dyeing more so than it being a symptom of CTE. I've seen it up close and personal.
That is my biggest concern currently. With Covid I moved my elderly in-laws in with us. Both are approaching age 90. And my father in law played college football (center & LB) and baseball in the 1950’s.
My father in law is a tremendously passive, gentle man. But we have begun to see anger, moodiness and emotional outbursts periodically. CTE? Maybe, but my wife and I see it as almost classic “organic brain syndrome”.
His neurologist has already “prepped” us; his behavior may become the exact opposite of what you have known it to be all your life.
 

KrAzY3

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Unfortunately there was a common sense element to all of this that many people chose to overlook for many years. It was obvious, well before any of this CTE stuff came to light that repeated blows to the head has serious repercussions.

We saw ailing boxers, we saw ailing football players, we knew there were consequences. Now MMA is extremely popular, and while the exterior damage can be visible (like cauliflower ear), we know more damage is being done that we can not see.

The reality is that there are tradeoffs for choosing certain paths in life, and some come with greater risks than others. There are soldiers with PTSD, and coal miners with black lung. My father died of cancer in his 60s and I know for a fact he was exposed to asbestos (I get settlement checks periodically).

We need to be honest and forthcoming about risks associated with certain things. My mother never let me play tackle football, precisely because of the injury risks. I always assumed it was commonly known that you could suffer lasting consequences for playing football and that getting hit in the head was bad for your brain. It's disconcerting that some people seemed to be naive when it came to understanding the risks.

Having said that, I'm not saying that football is a bad path to take. If you do almost anything excessively there are health risks. Long-distance running elevates the risk of heart attack for instance. High-altitude mounting climbing is bad for the brain. I once saw a guy I knew get hit by a baseball in the head on live TV and his (Matt Clement) career was over shortly afterwards.

That isn't to say that sports are more dangerous than other occupations though. Where my father and brother worked multiple people died on the job. My dad had to fish out the remains of his friend. My brother had to try to deliver aid to someone whose lower half was separated from the rest of his body. Where my wife works multiple people have died, one person she knew was buried in super-heated dust. My other brother was in the Army and escaped physical harm, but has to live with actions that were reported by the media and involved civilians.

Understanding, educating, mitigating damage are all vital... there are risks of pushing ourselves and putting ourselves into certain positions. We chose to do that though and the key part is we understand the implications of that choice. We encourage people every day to go into professions that can lead to several physical and mental issues. Perhaps we should be more ethical in explaining those risks beforehand.
 
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DogPatch

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You hate to see it, but it's not surprising at all that anyone who made a career out of playing football would have CTE.
 

J0eW

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The first part of my genetic neuropathy - the "CA" in "CANVAS" is short for "Cerebellar Ataxia." One aspect of it is malfunctioning hand/eye coordination. I typically either overshoot or undershoot. For several years prior to my diagnosis from Mayo Clinic, Rochester, this was very frustrating. I developed the bad habit of releasing a stream of obscenities when this occurred ( which was fairly often). This did not meet the Mrs. standards. I have gotten much better with this now that I have a better understanding of my condition.

I can also understand and sympathize how brain injuries/conditions can be life changing in many ways, specially concerning behavior changes.

A man has to play the cards that he is dealt.
 

DzynKingRTR

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That is my biggest concern currently. With Covid I moved my elderly in-laws in with us. Both are approaching age 90. And my father in law played college football (center & LB) and baseball in the 1950’s.
My father in law is a tremendously passive, gentle man. But we have begun to see anger, moodiness and emotional outbursts periodically. CTE? Maybe, but my wife and I see it as almost classic “organic brain syndrome”.
His neurologist has already “prepped” us; his behavior may become the exact opposite of what you have known it to be all your life.
Dementia can also bring about a change in personality. My grandmother went through it. Hearing her drop f bombs and be mean to people was offputting.
Having said that, CTE could have caused your father in law's dementia.
 
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GrayTide

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Thanks, that was a sad, but enlightening article about what can happen as a result of playing football. I have a friend I went to high school with and played football with. He played for Alabama in the late sixties. I have been told by other high school friends that he is in bad shape and his wife is very protective of him and, not many people have seen him in the past several years. Tragic situation for their families.
 
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