With more and more research being conducted, it is becoming harder to deny that the disease C.T.E. (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is directly related to playing football and taking repeated blows to the head. C.T.E. is a degenerative disease that causes symptoms such as memory loss, depression, confusion and dementia.

Don Horn, former quarterback for the Denver Broncos (1971-72) joined Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to discuss.

“I think almost every player has some degree of C.T.E.,” said Horn. After the New York Times recently published an article on a report of NFL brains tested for C.T.E. showing that 99 percent exhibited signs of the disease, it’s hard to disagree.

Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist and Director of the C.T.E Center at Boston University recently tested 202 brains of deceased football players for the disease, 111 played in the NFL. Of the 111 that played in the NFL, 110 of them tested positive for C.T.E.

The results found by Dr. McKee were shocking, not because anybody denies that C.T.E. is a problem, but because no one wants to believe the problem is so widespread.

Horn, who also spent time playing for the Packers, Browns, Chargers and Portland Thunder (WFL) has been a part of various organizations such as “Mike Ditka and the Gridiron Greats” and “After the Impact fund,” to bring awareness and raise money for treatment to help retired NFL players suffering from C.T.E.  

In 2012 the NFL promised to fund millions of dollars toward concussion research conducted by National Institutes of Health but then later reneged over issues they have with a few Boston University researchers who are known for their harsh criticism of the NFL.

“The NFL doesn’t recognize it today, they might next year or they might in five years, but right now they don’t, they just deny it,” Horn said.

Dr. McKee’s findings included nine NFL positions: linemen, running backs, defensive backs, linebackers, quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, place-kickers and punters. Of the 110 NFL players found to have C.T.E., Linemen made up 44 of them.  

Side effects from C.T.E. can arise years after the damage has been done. Players from a wide-range of ages have been found to have the disease. Deceased players as young as 23, to as old as 89 were used in Dr. McKee’s study.

Listen to the full interview and the rest of NFL quarterback Don Horn’s thoughts on the C.T.E. epidemic in the podcast below.

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