For a lot of players in the NFL, when they retire from the game they like to leave little mementos. Maybe a jersey the player wore in a Super Bowl for the team to put on display somewhere, of if they go on to the Hall of Fame, maybe they’ll give the fine folks in Canton the football they scored that record breaking touchdown with.
Still, while former players giving up some of their possessions after retiring is all well and good, couldn’t they give us more? I mean, what purpose does that glass encased football really serve for the betterment of mankind? Don’t they owe us more than that? Some scientists at Boston University think so, and that’s why after those retired football players die, they’re totally going to harvest their brains.
From the NEW YORK TIMES:
N.F.L. players are lionized every Sunday for giving their bodies to the sport. Now, some retired players are planning to literally give their brains to a new center at Boston University’s School of Medicine devoted to studying the long-term effects of concussions.
A dozen athletes, including six N.F.L. players and a former United States women’s soccer player, have agreed to donate their brains after their deaths to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.
One of the retired players who is willing to donate his brain is former Patriots linebacker, Ted Johnson. Ted is just tired of the NFL saying that they aren’t sure that concussions lead to long term problems for players, and as somebody who has had his share of concussions, Johnson wants the NFL to know that they’re morons:
“I shouldn’t have to prove to anybody that there’s something wrong with me,” said Johnson, 35, whose neurologist has said multiple concussions from 2002 through his 2005 retirement resulted in permanent and degenerative problems with memory and depression.
Johnson added: “I’m not being vindictive. I’m not trying to reach up from the grave and get the N.F.L. But any doctor who doesn’t connect concussions with long-term effects should be ashamed of themselves.”
Of course, the problem with this study is that the scientists now have to wait for all these people to die. Thankfully the fact that most players who suffer from repeated concussions during their careers tend to die young, so hopefully they won’t have to wait too long.