As a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, Boomer Esiason lost a Super Bowl, but he’s worried about losing something much more valuable right now.
Head trauma has become a hot-button issue in violent sports, chiefly football.
Esiason chimed in on the topic with an opinion that could be chilling to the masses.
He fears he has CTE, and believes all professional football players have it.
From CBS Sports:
On Monday’s “Boomer & Carton,” Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton found themselves diving into the much-talked about subject of concussions in football.
During the conversation, they began to talk about CTE and how it has forced some younger players to retire earlier than what’s considered the norm. While they were on the topic, Esiason conceded that he may have some form of CTE, and he said that it’s not an isolated case.
“If I died tomorrow and my brain basically was taken and researched and I was found to have CTE, which most likely I have, because I think all football players probably have it,” Boomer said.
CTE has been a serious topic of conversation over the course of the past few weeks. The NFL announced it is dissolving its partnership with the National Institutes of Health mere days after a study found CTE in 110 of 111 players examined.
Players such as Chris Borland, who retired after his rookie season, have been bucking the trend by pursuing passions outside of football. Despite steps by the NFL to try to curb head injuries (e.g. the near-elimination of kickoffs and more stringent head-to-head penalties), the worry around concussions has nearly come to a peak in recent years.
To hear this statement may not be surprising, but to hear it come from a former player is eye-opening. Having an athlete that lived it talking about his apparent head trauma is no small matter, even if it’s a comment made in passing. Obviously Boomer was making a point, but he may have inadvertently made much larger one.
Football icon John Madden once said that if you play one down of football in the NFL, your body will never be the same.
Madden is likely right. Simply reaching the NFL requires countless hours of practice, training, and games, which lead to wear-and-tear, injuries, and violent collisions.
Baltimore Ravens’ Offensive Lineman John Urschel followed in Chris Borland’s footsteps and retired at 26-years-old to pursue his PhD in Mathematics at MIT. He didn’t want head trauma to diminish his quality of life beyond football.
Conversely, New York Jets’ rookie Safety Jamal Adams said he would “die on the field.” Despite the risks, players will always be willing to assume them.
Adams’s sentiment is more indicative of the warrior culture that pervades in football. There’s a high risk, but the reward is immense.
The science of concussions is relatively new, but awareness is rising, which is good for the future of the game.