Several prominent figures from the NFL, including NBC 5’s own Mike Adamle, went to Capitol Hill Friday to take part in a brain injuries forum with lawmakers.
Experts and numerous former athletes who are suffering from sport-related brain injuries said they are a major public health concern.
Adamle retired from NBC 5 earlier this year, revealing he is suffering from CTE-induced dementia.
Multiple players have also come forward to talk about similar injuries they have suffered since football, saying more money should be put into research to protect future generations.
As football took center stage Friday in Washington D.C., some of the nation’s leading experts joined Adamle and other former players for a frank talk about the injuries that can come from the beloved sport and what can be done to protect players – whether they are youth or professional.
A recent explosive study found 110 out of 111 deceased former NFL players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE- a degenerative brain disease found in athletes.
“I’ve been on short-term disability and then long-term disability,” Adamle, a former Chicago Bear, said in an interview in February. “I’ve had seizures and epilepsy for the last 19 years.”
According to Adamle’s neurologist, Dr. Michael Smith of Rush University, Adamle’s seizures are post-traumatic epilepsy, attributed in large part to his football career. But it appears they were just the beginning.
“The real thing is I see, I can feel the decline every single day,” Adamle, who was at the forum with his wife, said Friday.
Adamle hopes to educate others about CTE, for which there is no cure.
His wife also talked about the struggles of living with someone with a brain injury and the “NFL Wives” group she is party of, which works to help support former players with brain injuries.
Participants in the forum said it’s imperative that Congress continues to examine traumatic brain injuries caused by contact sports and provide public education about them. They also said the NFL has to do its part to reduce the risk of head injuries at all levels.