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Ex-NFL Player Laments Not Knowing About CTE Prior To Football Career

According to Tom Crabtree, the league never informed him about the brain disease.

Former NFL player and Super Bowl XLV champion Tom Crabtree responded to Frontline’s damning CTE report on Friday by discussing the sport's lack of transparency regarding the seriousness of head injuries.  

The new research, conducted in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University, determined that 96 percent of the former NFL players studied tested positive for CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disease closely linked to repeated head trauma.

Crabtree, who retired this past April after four seasons in the NFL, took to Twitter to express his dismay over the results of the study.

Asked if he would have still pursued a career in football if he had fully known the risks of the game, Crabtree responded: 

The former tight end also tweeted that he learned about the potential consequences of head trauma only after breaking into the NFL, explaining that a concussion “was always looked at as a less severe injury with no long-term prob[lems].” 

In fact, the league has a long history of showing negligence toward the concussion question, continually brushing off connections between brain trauma and the sport. Throughout a 2009 Congressional hearing, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell avoided giving a direct answer to inquiries into the link between CTE and football.

Goodell stuck to the party line despite the fact that, as Wayne Coffey of New York Daily News wrote at the time, “the hearing [had been] called in the wake of a recent NFL-commissioned survey that revealed that retired NFL players may suffer from [CTE and dementia] … at rates far greater than the general population.” And that was back in 2009.

Crabtree himself has experienced this negligence firsthand. In his last tweet, when asked how much information the NFL had given him about the brain disease, his response was emphatic. 

  

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