Current and Former NFL Players, Coaches Discuss Latest CTE Brain Study Findings
With NFL training camps opening up across the country, several current and former NFL players have been asked about the findings of a new study by Boston University researcher Dr. Ann McKee, who examined the brains of 202 deceased football players and found that 110 of the 111 brains of former NFL players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The brains were donated by families of former NFL players who showed signs of the disease. The study was not conducted on a set of random former NFL players, and Dr. McKee notes "tremendous selection bias" in the samples.
“It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football—there is a problem,” Dr. McKee said, according to the New York Times.
CTE was found in 177 of the 202 brains. Here's a look at how current and former players and coaches have responded so far to the new study.
• New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick deflected on commenting on the CTE study too much in his first press conference of training camp and would leave the discussion to the experts.
“I think the league addressed it,” Belichick said. “I don’t really have much to add to the statement that they released. Obviously it’s an important area that’s being given a lot of attention, as it should.”
He was also asked whether he was worried about the future of football and said, "“Again, there are a lot of studies out there. I’m not really a medical expert. That’s not really my field. So I think I’ll leave that to the people who are doing it.”
• Patriots safety Devin McCourty supports the NFL's efforts to get more information on brain research, according to WEEI.
"For all of us, technology has showed that we're getting more and more research," McCourty said. "I think the good thing as players is that the NFL and the NFLPA are finding ways to get all of that information to us and making us knowledgeable of the situation. But I think all of us decide to play football, and that's why we're back here in training camp ready to go and compete for another year. It's good to get that research and learn from it."
"I'm not worried about it right now,' Thomas said.
"But for me, personally, I do monitor those things very closely,'' he added.
• Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins played 16 seasons in the NFL. He told reporters that he has no symptoms but will accept whatever comes from his decision to play as long as you did. (Les Bowens, Philly.com)
• Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said, "I would be lying if I said I didn't get nervous about that stat. But this game, I just love it so much." (Jeff Darlington, ESPN)
• Former Vikings center Matt Birk tweeted, "What about the 15,000 or so deceased former NFL players who lived full lives and didn’t have CTE?”
This story will be updated as more players report to training camp and make a comment.