Every fall, hundreds of thousands of people strap on a helmet and shoulder pads and play the great game of Football, but at what cost? Doctors who have recently studied the brain of a former great, Junior Seau, have found a disturbing trend that has become all too common among football players. Seau committed suicide in the spring and a posthumous exam found traces of the degenerative brain disease C.T.E., a common link found in 33 of 34 ex-football players who have also taken their lives early.
C.T.E. isn’t a risk associated exclusively to football, but rather any sport with exposure to “repetitive head injury.” Sports like Rugby, Hockey, and Lacrosse are all equally at risk, yet information regarding player suicides is not as readily available. What can be certain, however, is there is a common trend and link between suicide and the existence of C.T.E. The problem with C.T.E. is that it can only be discovered after death, ending the possibility to preempt any damages. Although there is no way to determine if C.T.E. exists, the knowledge that it is unequivocally linked to the suicides of players who experienced repetitive head injuries is shocking.
Now why is this an international issue one might ask? Now that the public is aware of the link between C.T.E. and suicide, is it negligent to allow millions of people worldwide participate in a game that could lead to them ending their lives without giving them more information about the consequences? Are the governing bodies of the various sports leagues going to be held liable for allowing their respective games to subject its participants to repetitive head trauma? Are the players assuming the risk or are they not aware of the potential consequences of their actions?
It is clear that sports like Football have a problem on their hands and now that there is knowledge of a link between head trauma and suicide there must be a duty to warn and inform participants of the potential long-term effects.
Source: New York Times