League hit with rising concussions, brain trauma news

Fri Feb 5, 2016 8:36pm EST
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By Larry Fine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former quarterback Troy Aikman says he is fortunate to have gotten out of the NFL in good health as news of brain trauma in recently deceased former players is mounting, and he knows others are suffering.

"I know there's people that I played with and against and those before me that are really battling some tough times as a result we assume from having played the game," the three-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys told Reuters on Thursday.

"It obviously is a real concern for our game," the Hall of Famer added.

An autopsy confirmed that former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died last year at 63, CNN reported on Thursday.

Two days before, a specialist said a study of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler's brain following his death last year showed signs of CTE, which is closely associated with the repeated head blows common in boxing, hockey, football and other contact sports.

Stabler's brain was the 90th of 94 former NFL players studied by Boston University researchers to show indications of CTE.

"It's a violent game. Big physical guys colliding and creating these collisions with the head injuries. As much as the league has done to make the game safer, I saw that this year the concussions were way up," Aikman said.

Last week the National Football League said there were 182 reported concussions this past season, a rise of 58 percent over 2014 after two seasons of declining incidents.   Continued...

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman introduces a performance by Alan Jackson at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Arlington, Texas April 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Blake