Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s Warren Sapp Joins Quest To End CTE
Warren Sapp, a Hall of Fame football player and former defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is hoping to make his football legacy about more than awards and recognition. He recently announced his plans to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation when he dies.
Sapp’s announcement contributes to the ever-growing discussion about the dangers of concussions and head trauma in football players. In the 2013 season of the National Football League, there were 228 diagnosed concussions. Because of this, 1 in 3 NFL players experience some sort of brain trauma. One specific type of brain trauma, CTE, seems to be particularly prevalent and damaging to football players.
CTE and Football
CTE, which stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a type of brain degeneration that occurs through repetitive head trauma. It causes:
- Cognitive impairment
- Impulsive behavior
- Emotional instability
- Irritability, aggression, or depression
- Motor impairment
Since 2005, at least six former professional football players have killed themselves. In all these cases, brain examination showed signs of CTE, linking football to serious brain trauma. Most recently, the suicide of former Patriot’s standout— and convicted murderer — Aaron Hernandez raised questions about how CTE leads to violence and suicide.
Shining Light on Brain Trauma
Sapp hopes to bring more awareness to the issues of CTE among football players. He says that concussions and brain trauma are a difficult subject, because football players are trying to keep up with a tough, infallible reputation. He says that “there’s no way any of us wanna really admit that we can’t remember how to get home or a grocery list that our wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids from school, or whatever it may be.” He also acknowledges that issues like memory loss or emotional instability are challenging to talk about, but may be indicators of a more serious issue.
Additionally, Sapp hopes that the game will change to include better measures against concussions and trauma. As someone who has dedicated his career to football, Warren Sapp clearly understands how important the game is. But he also knows that without awareness and attention, more football players will experience harmful brain trauma. By offering to donate his brain after death, he is making a lasting contribution to football players everywhere.
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