“The Snake was Sick-Everyone Else Will Be”
The news should not have come as a surprise. Ken Stabler passing away. The iconic-bearded-free spirit of a quarterback of the Raiders.
It’s only a matter of time before they will all pass, all the Raiders icons, and many, many more in the National Football League. And autopsy after autopsy will show the true cause of death of the players we loved to follow, loved to hate, loved to root for and again. They will all die from CTE, brain damage, brought on by years of big hits while playing in the NFL.
From Seau to Sash to Stabler, and lots in between. Names you know, names you don’t know. They all died from a buildup of Tau protein in different parts of their brain. Some killed themselves to end the agony, like Seau. Some died of causes triggered by the brain damage, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, ALS like Sash. Some died of other diseases, like the complications of cancer that took Stabler down, compounded by what was going on in his brain.
Boston University’s Brain Institute has now become the contact point for all NFL families who lose husbands and fathers and sons and friends. Their research has now shown 88-of the last 92-players they did autopsies on, all had CTE, from minimal levels to the most acute. The Mike Webster disease, named after the late Steelers icon, who killed himself rather than live with the horrors of his ailments that destroyed his family and his life. He suffers no more, but so many others are, and will.
The NFL wants to pride itself on the 963M they have funded to pay the players of yesteryear, who are suffering a slow agonizing death, eventhough two years after the agreement, not one penny has been paid out because of appeals and on-going litigation.
Pending lawsuits are still out there from players who don’t think it’s enough.
The NFL just released its 2015-survey that show concussions are up, 279-this past season, a high water mark over the last four years. That may be a higher number because of the hiring of independent neurosurgeons on the sideline, leading to better vigilance. We now know more about warning signs than we did five years ago, a decade ago, 20-years back.
But it is still a violent game, with big time hits.
Still out there is another possible suicide victim. Another 1970s star who will die in debt, unable to take care of himself. We know about the war with the NFL, giving Dick “Night Train” Lane just 695-dollars a month pension, and denying him disability after 11-years of playing the most violent safety you’d ever want to see from back in the day.
Enjoy the Super Bowl. You’ll see some guys get blown up. The term concussion protocol will be thrown around like that is a cure-all. And the game will indeed go on.
Too late for Junior Seau, Tyler Sash or Ken Stabler and so many more. The Chargers linebacker killed himself. The Giants young safety died in his bed. Stabler’s life was over in a hospice unit. A 43-year old linebacker. A 27-year old safety. A 60-plus quarterback.
The NFL should add an ‘addendum page’ to every players contract. ________________ passed away from complications of brain damage brought on by CTE.
It seems out of control, the game, the big hits, and the big damage. Throwing dollars after dollars at research won’t have an impact. Changing the equipment, the rules, making it safer, is the only way out.
The glory of Super Bowl Sunday will be everywhere. We should never forget however how unforgiving the game is to those who get badly hurt.