HT1977 CropThis post is for me and maybe a few others that might identify with it personally. While I love football, it isn’t worth the cost to play the game. The small picture to the right is from a hit in high school that resulted in getting my bell rung accompanied by dizziness, seeing stars, and having a headache for a while afterward. If I or my parents had known then what is known now, I don’t think I would have played the game. The danger of playing football long term is a thing called CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Today Brett Favre admitted to memory loss  and is fearful the effect playing football has had on him is CTE. I guess that got me to thinking because I ended my football days at USM where he played during college. I first considered having this problem when my ENT doctor told me tests showed the ringing in my ears was the result of head trauma. My RN wife immediately identified multiple concussions I experienced in football as the culprit.(Update 11/8/13: Tony Dorsett {Former Dallas Cowboy} has signs of CTE)

Head trauma is now defined as: “Getting your bell rung;” having a headache, dizziness, or seeing stars after a hit; losing consciousness… even for a short time (Documentary “Head Games“). Under that definition every football player has experienced head trauma. I played little league, high school, and college football for a total of ten years. That means for at least 20 weeks, five days a week, for ten years my brain was rattled often (I have no idea how many times)… as was the brains of all my team mates. In my short time in football I would guess at least 10 times each year would fit into the current definition of head trauma. I fear for the guys who played little league, high school, college, and then pro football for up to 25 total years in the game.

The consequences. In NFL players there has been dementia, memory loss, and personality problems sometimes leading to suicide. While not every person who played football will end up with CTE, my personal opinion is that there are many who’s brains have been damaged as a result of the game. They deal with “minor” consequences like ringing in the ears, memory loss, and confusion. I believe one day football will become a much less violent game if not end completely as a result of CTE.

Personally, I’m glad my sons played football only briefly (1 and 2 years respectively). I’m glad I didn’t play any longer than I did. I hope and pray none of my grandchildren will play the game. It just isn’t worth it.