Seahawks fans should be worried about the recent CTE study. Very worried indeed.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Brooks Reed
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Brooks Reed /
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Seahawks fans should be very concerned about the recent CTE study published in the JAMA on NFL players. An easily understandable explanation of what all of this means follows.

First, some quick definitions. JAMA is the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is about the least likely source of fake news possible. CTE is chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In layman’s terms (meaning mine), the CTE study looked at brain degeneration caused by repeated trauma to the skull. In simpler terms yet, CTE is brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.

The CTE study surveyed a total of 202 football players. Each player donated his brain specifically for the study of this condition. The donors included those whose highest level of play was high school, college and the NFL. 177 of those brains were diagnosed as suffering from CTE. That’s 87% of those players. Daniella Emanuel of CNN wrote this excellent summary of the study.

Now to get really scary. 111 of the donors played in the NFL. 110 of those players were diagnosed with CTE. Yep. Only one of 111 former NFL players managed to escape brain damage.

Before everyone yanks their kids out of Pop Warner football, let me clarify something. This is incredibly important. Players donated their brains specifically for the CTE study. This isn’t a survey of football players in general, or even NFL players in general. Now think for a moment. Unless you’ve had symptoms of CTE, would you be likely to donate your brain for research? No, you wouldn’t. So this survey is pre-selected for a high percentage of occurrence.

Still, 99 percent isn’t a good result, or a good look for the NFL.

BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 1: Guard John Urschel
BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 1: Guard John Urschel /

Another young player retires early

More from 12th Man Rising

Baltimore Raven John Urschel announced his retirement from the league today. Urschel, just 26, joined other young players like former Buffalo Bill A.J. Tarpley and former San Francisco 49ers Chris Borland who retired very early. Both Tarpley and Borland retired after one season. Urschel retired today after three seasons in the league.

Don’t think these guys were just scrubs. Urschel started seven games at center last year, just his third season in the league. Tarpley played in fourteen games with two starts. Borland played in fourteen games as well with eight starts. It hasn’t just been young players retiring, either.

No less a superstar than the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson retired at the top of his game. Johnson cited concussions as one of the key factors in his retirement. Johnson said, as aired on the Chad Benson Show on K-News 94.3, Palm Springs, California:

"“It’s clear to see when you get a concussion. In football, it’s – concussions happen, if not on every play, then they happen like every other, every third play, you know. With all the helmet contact, guys hittin’ the ground, heads hittin’ ground. It’s simply when your brain touches your skull from the movement or the inertia, man. It’s simple to get a concussion, you know.  … I don’t know how many I’ve had over my career, you know, but I’ve definitely had my fair share.”"