By Ken Reed

The Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade is in the books.

Americans reveled in another Super Bowl spectacle.

Huge men constantly running into each other provides entertainment for millions of Americans.

But since chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was discovered in ‪2002 by Dr.‬ Bennet Omalu, the game hasn’t been quite as fun to watch.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive blows to the brain. Football players receive a lot of blows to the brain during a typical season.

An offensive lineman like Bob Kuechenberg of the 1972 Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins, who was found to have CTE upon his death, likely absorbed thousands of hits to his head every year during his life.

“(Researchers) asked me how many concussions he might have had, and I said, ‘His head was his tool. Do the math over college and high school,’” said Alexandra Kuechenberg, his daughter.

Several of Kuechenberg’s Miami teammates from the perfect 17-0 Super Bowl champs were discovered to have suffered from CTE (memory loss, wild mood swings, depression, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, etc.).

One was Bill Stanfill, a defensive lineman, who banged heads with offensive linemen over his long career. Stanfill died at age 69 with CTE.

“He told me, ’Stan, I’ve been hurt my whole life,” said Bill’s son Stan. “‘I can deal with the pain. But this losing your mind, I can’t handle that.’”

The families of once strong and vibrant men often see the former pro football players in their lives turn bitter, lose their memories and struggle to do simple everyday tasks.

An estimated one-third of NFL players who died in the past several years have donated their brains to science because they suspected they might have CTE.

Star Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti, an NFL Hall-of-Famer was one of them. He suffered from dementia for years before his death. His family awaits the results from a post-mortem examination of his brain.

Dr. Ann McKee, a researcher at the CTE Center at Boston University says, “Everything is related to the dose,” referring to the number of subconcussive blows to the head that occur in football practices and games.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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