Boston University published an unsettling brain-trauma study Tuesday, reporting that nearly 90 percent of brains studied had CTE, including 110 of 111 brains of deceased NFL players. In addition, 91 percent of brains from former college football players had CTE, as did 21 percent of brains from former high school football players.
While the results of this study, to many, are surprising, the reaction is not.
“(It’s) very scary,” former Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Very scary. Each time I think about it, I think about the erratic behavior amongst players. I think about some of the issues and phone calls I’ve received over the last 15 to 17 years, how they’ve impacted my life, my thinking, the thought process. Those (people), I’ve tried to help. A couple of them are deceased. And then there’s guys like myself who didn’t want to believe until it was proven and became factual in terms of my wellness and my ability to cope with traumatic brain injury after football.”
Marshall, 55, played in the NFL from 1983-94. A two-time Pro Bowler, the former defensive end helped the Giants to a pair of Super Bowl victories – first in Super Bowl XXI in January 1987 and again in Super Bowl XXV in January 1991.
Marshall said he’s been “okay” overall but that he “started having some issues” around 2007.
“I did some things about it,” he said. “I started writing a book, I started talking to players and teammates, I started doing some research – one thing led to another.”
Still, his fear is real. His fear is constant.
“I’m always worried,” he said. “I’m always worried – because it’s always going to be in the back of my mind that I’m one of those guys, (that) I’m one of those guys. I worry about Tony Dorsett. I worry about Joe DeLamielleure. I worry about Mark Duper. I worry about those that have been diagnosed in other places. I worry about guys I played with. I played with some great guys, and some of these guys are very strong, confident men. The biggest problem with football players is they’re not scared of anything. We’re proud men, the kind that won’t tell you that we’re injured. Well, I’m going to soften up and tell you: I’ve got a problem. If you think you can help me, reach out to me. If you know you’re wasting my time, stay the hell away from me.”