If You are a Professional…
Have you heard the term CTE? If not, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a horrific nightmarish disease plaguing young men and women who played contact sports, particularly football. It is a progressive brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head. It is being diagnosed postmortem in athletes that played football at youth, high school, college and pro levels, not to mention in athletes that played other sports like hockey and soccer. It is also being diagnosed in soldiers coming home from war, and domestic abuse victims.
In an effort to help Patrick, we took him to many doctors, psychologists, rehab centers, psychiatrists, and therapists (some of them were “Concussion Specialists”). Not one of them mentioned CTE. We even asked about CTE and were told he did not have it. CTE was discovered in 2002 in a pro football player, yet over a decade later the medical community seems slow to recognize its existence in non-NFL players, namely, our children. One of our missions is to change this and provide a resource for more information. It is our belief that many young men who played football are walking around undiagnosed,suffering, and at risk for suicide. If you are a medical health professional, a diagnostic question may need to be: “Did you play football or any other contact sport that took hits to the head?” You may be dealing with CTE. Furthermore, we contacted suicide specialists after Patrick’s passing and they had never heard of CTE. Suicide centers need this information as well.
If you are a coach or athletic administrator, we hope to make you aware of the danger of repeated hits to the head.
Many precautionary programs you are probably using deal with preventing concussions. We applaud any efforts you make to reduce those dangers, but CTE may not need a concussion to begin its destruction. Researchers are finding links to repeated head impacts as the start for CTE. You, as professionals, owe it to your young athletes to protect their precious brains from harm. In our opinion, just one jolt to the head or violent twist is enough to have them sit out the rest of the game. We are convinced, based on Patrick’s history, that medical evidence will someday support our recommendations. Until that time, do you want to risk the healthy brains of our children for a sport? We hope you will err on the side of caution. We sure wish Patrick’s coaches had.
Need to learn more about the disease? Still wondering “What is CTE?”