Death of Former NFL Player Reignites Conversation on How to Solve Football’s CTE Crisis

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Former NFL player Jason Hairston, who frequently went on hunting trips with Donald Trump Jr. and spoke openly about CTE and how he believed he suffered from the disease, just passed away at the young age of 47. With this most recent tragedy, it’s more important than ever to keep the discussion going about the potential of cannabis as a treatment for the disease.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative neurological disease caused by repeated head trauma and only diagnosable with certainty in post-mortem examinations. It can lead to symptoms like violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive difficulties, all symptoms Hairston has discussed having.

In an effort to help researchers, former Philadelphia Eagle and CBS football analyst Irv Cross said he will donate his brain to Boston University researchers so they can study it for CTE. Cross himself has been diagnosed with mild dementia and is no longer able to drive, which he believes may be the early signs of CTE.

Stories like these only showcase the further need for Football to wake up and invest in something that can help their players. CTE is no joke, and it’s not rare: a study being conducted at the CTE Center on the brains of nearly 500 deceased players who have donated their brains to science revealed that at least 360 of the brains had CTE.

There is currently no known way to prevent its onset, but researchers are searching for a viable treatment to act as a neuroprotectant and prevent brain trauma.

Right now, the leading candidate in the search for an effective treatment is Kannalife Sciences (“Kannalife”); a phyto-medical company that specializes in the research & development of pharmacological products derived from botanical sources. Kannalife was awarded exclusive license to the National Institute of Health’s patent “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” (the “‘507 Patent”), allowing the company to do groundbreaking research and develop cannabinoid-based treatments for CTE.

One of the biggest advocates for CTE research is Nick Lowery, who decided to take a stand after watching his own friend Mike Webster lose his life to the horrific disease. Lowery is a Harvard graduate who played for the NFL for over 18 years and now acts as a spokesperson for Kannalife Sciences.

Emerald contributor since March 2012

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