What once was professional football’s dirty little secret has been exposed yet again by revelations surrounding the death of a sports icon.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy afflicts an alarming number of former football players. The National Football League for years denied that it was a problem among its athletes.
Now the word is out that Frank Gifford, a Hall of Fame wide receiver for the New York Giants, suffered from CTE when he died recently of “natural causes.”
CTE has returned to the head of the line of issues that Americans are discussing. I wrote about it for Panhandle PBS.
It saddens me to no end to hear former great players such as, say quarterback Brett Favre, say that he won’t allow his children to play football. Indeed, Favre had his bell rung more than once during his great career with the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. I pray that CTE won’t claim him, but he is concerned about whether his own children would be safe playing a game that brought their father so much fame and financial reward.
PBS’s acclaimed documentary series “Frontline” blew the lid off this issue with its “League of Denial” special broadcast more than two year ago.
The NFL has to come to grips with this situation. It’s already settled a huge claim made by its players association to compensate players and their families for the damage caused by these head injuries.
However, much more needs to be done to make the game as safe as possible for the athletes who take the field.
Are you listening, NFL executives?