Head Games: Former Packers Talk About the Impact of Concussions
GREEN BAY, Wis.-- Concussions in football have become a big topic of conversation among fans and players alike. Former Packer Ahman Green, a 12 year veteran running back knows first hand what a head injury can do to a player's health. He's had more than one concussion during his Career. "3 documented and another 3 or 4 that I kinda just shook off."
Green Tells us he's part of a movement that's challenging the NFL in court claiming the league has not paid close enough attention to the damage done. A recent study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, found the aggressive brain disease in half of 68 donated brains, including several former pro football players. Lead researcher Dr Anne McKey, a native of Green Bay and passionate Packer fan, says concussions cause CTE. "It gives us huge insight on where it starts in the brain, where it starts in the brain and importantly how it progresses through the brain."
Doctor's find CTE by highlighting abnormal protein clumps in a victim's brain. UCLA researchers have now developed a way to diagnose early stages of CTE in living patients by injecting a chemical targeting the proteins. The clumps are found in parts of the brain dealing with emotion, behavior, and memory.
Former Packer Kabeer Bajabiamila's job was driving heads into the ground and he was good at it. The team's all time leading sacker says he worries about the effects his playing career could have 10 or 15 years down the road. "It's kind off gotten me curious, I've gone online to see what is happening to the brain. And I think, I know that may have happened to me." KGB tells us. "I never want to be in a situation where I have to be a burden to somebody."
Green understands the toll his career has taken. But he's determined to push back. "Staying active. If you don't use it you lose it. And that's everything, physically, brain control. and the less you do physically, mentally, to test yourself. playing video games, playing with your kids, when you stop doing those things, that's when you're body starts breaking down."
KGB, unlike Green, isn't as sure about the journey ahead of him. "I got a ding. To me it was an unofficial concussion cause now they say if you just get that, it's a form of that. And I'm saying wow, if that's it, I'm thinking the people that stayed in who just had a ding, we probably had worse.
Green had one last thing to say about how he's taking life from here on out. "If you play with fear, then you're going to get hurt. So i played without fear, and I'm going to live without fear.