'You can't replace your brain' says former NFL player living in Spurger speaking on effects of CTE

A degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma has been shown in almost 90 percent of the brains studied by Boston University researchers. The brains studied were those of football players.

BEAUMONT - According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, was diagnosed in 110 of 111 former NFL players.

“I’m afraid of when I get to the point where Ill drive some place, and then I don’t know to get back home, that’s my biggest fear,” said former NFL player Godwin Turk 66, of Spurger.

Turk, is a former linebacker for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets now living in Spurger.

He played from 1974 through 1978 according to NFL.com

Turk, who has early onset dementia, says repeated head trauma from playing football have caused his condition.

“If you explained that you had a stinger, like your head was ringing, all they would do was give you smelling salts,” said Turk. “It’s about this thing like being tough. “Suck it up.” That was the mentality you see.”

Sadly this is an all too common story for former NFL players. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, was diagnosed in 110 of 111 former NFL players.

“If I had to do it over like I said in hindsight, give me some golf clubs,” said Turk

The study however did show that only 3 of 14 high schoolers, who were studied, had signs of CTE. For Lumberton High school defensive end Andrew House, who has had two concussions, he says continuing to play is worth the risk.

“Just the team chemistry and stuff like that,” said House. “Getting to able to play, and have the fun and joy of that time that I only get to have while I’m young. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t, but I think it’s worth the risk.”

Doctor Joseph Oommen, a Beaumont Neurologist, says age may play a factor in CTE.

“The age factor I think tends to hide things and as someone gets older, these symptoms tend to pop out more,” said Dr. Oommen. “Just because the system is just not as resilient as it used to be.”

Turk sent his son to private school and didn't allow him to play football.

"I wouldn't even let him play. It was more important to me that he go get his education," Turk said.

Turk warns that the risks could catch up with players.

“You have to really make sure that this is something that you want to do,” said Turk. 

“Like everything, it’s a heads and a tails…. When you get out of the sport you have to realize the damage you have done to your body. Your knees, and your shoulders, and more or less your center control, your brain. Once you lose this here, you can’t replace your brain. You can get another heart but you can’t get another brain. You are damaging your body.”

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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