Four ex-NFL players unite to launch largest ever CTE study

Four former players have joined the largest study to date into the football-linked brain disease CTE that could lead to a test for athletes during their lifetime.

The program, launched today, is the passion project of another former player Jim Joyce, who played for the Denver Broncos before founding biotech firm Exosome Sciences to investigate the diseases that afflict thousands of players in later life.

In a world-first, researchers will monitor the biggest ever cohort of living current and former players – around 200 – for years to identify biomarkers associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), 식물 엑소즘 the disease linked to hard head-hits which causes dementia, aggression and suicidal thoughts.

Among others, it will include 53-year-old Solomon Wilcots, former Cincinnati Bengal and NFL broadcaster, 57-year-old Steve Jordan, former Minnesota Viking, and 식물 엑소즘 44-year-old Jamir Miller, former Arizona Cardinal and Cleveland Brown – as well as Joyce himself.

While the players will have no idea of the findings or results, the ambitious investigation could lead scientists to a test for CTE during life.

Currently, the neurodegenerative condition can only be diagnosed in an autopsy.

Former Bengals player and current sports anchor Soloman Wilcots, 53, has joined the largest ever cohort study on living players to assess biomarkers to find a cure for the disease CTE

Tight end Steve Jordan, now 53, and linebacker Jamir Miller, now 44, (pictured left and right, respectively, during their times at the Minnesota Vikings and the Browns) have also joined

The program, launched today, is the passion project of another former player Jim Joyce (pictured), who played for the Denver Broncos before founding biotech firm Exosome Sciences to investigate the diseases that afflict thousands of players in later life

The announcement on Thursday morning comes just days after ex-con former player OJ Simpson, 70, said he fears he has CTE as he is forgetting names and numbers and 식물 엑소즘 people, but will never know for certain since there is no test. 

He is hardly the only player to speak out. 

Simpson’s words followed a slew of players’ agonizing accounts of mental decline, not to mention the scores of players’ deaths from suicide.

Brain degradation from repeated head hits is not a newly-discovered phenomenon – it has been recorded in boxers since the early 1900s. 

But in the last few years, we have seen an unprecedented surge in awareness as the 1960s generation – the first who used helmets, and therefore could hit their heads harder – reach their twilight years, and share harrowing accounts of their symptoms. 

That is one of the biggest wake-up calls for former players, Miller said at the launch for the Exosome study on Thursday.

‘I’ve lost friends,’ he said bleakly.

‘That’s it, I’ve lost friends – who, really, could still be contributing to society in a positive way.But [they’re gone] because of a debilitating condition that can’t even be diagnosed until you’re dead.

‘Until we can figure that bit out, the mystery, we can’t figure out a treatment plan.’

Miller, who is also the president of the NFL retired players association in Phoenix, said on Thursday that he hopes to involve as many living players as possible. 

‘I really understand that being at the age I am now, I’m understanding my mortality.

‘There’s this mystery that surrounds CTE.That’s why I’m here to support to give them all the resources to the chapter in Phoenix.’ 

Steve Jordan, 57, a former Minnesota Viking player, concurred.

‘It’s simply personal,’ he said.’As former athletes we have a lot of friends that have gone down as a result of CTE.’

But, he added, ‘it affects a lot of people, not just athletes’.

‘Even a subset of youth sports come into play,’ he said, ‘and a lot of people don’t talk about the military, they’re subject to head trauma.

‘Information will be the key to subjects like this to bring on some treatments and provide some solutions.’  

The Exosome study, running ‘in parallel’ with Boston University’s federally-funded CTE research program, is an attempt to confirm their belief: that they have found a biomarker which could be isolated in a blood sample to diagnose CTE.

The first sign of this possible biomarker, dubbed TauSome, was described in a scientific paper published in a journal in 2015. 

Now, Exosome needs to reach full enrollment – aiming for 200 players over the age of 20 with years of experience playing the game – to assess whether this biomarker can work in practice to match players’ symptoms to brain changes.  

‘Until CTE can be diagnosed in the living it is very unlikely that a treatment could emerge,’ Joyce said on Thursday.

The study is one of a handful of highly-anticipated research programs all racing towards the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The neuroscience and pharmaceutical industry is well aware that a during-life test, and even preventative medicines, would be as lucrative (and beneficial for people) as an Alzheimer’s cure.

Money aside, it has immense support from players and fans – and as the wait for a cure or test drags on, the rate of kids taking up tackle football is steadily declining.   

This support has swelled as players share their emotional accounts – largely in a bid to tear down the NFL’s roadblocks to getting compensation.

powered by Auto Youtube Summarize

Leave a Reply