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NFL

How does CTE affect football players?

Studies have shown that former NFL player Greg Clark had chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE when he committed suicide in July of last year.

Gidget Alikpala
Update:
Studies have shown that former NFL player Greg Clark had chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE when he committed suicide in July of last year.

A new diagnosis has revealed that former NFL player Greg Clark suffered from CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he killed himself with a gunshot to the head in July of last year.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by frequent blows to the head. The condition can only be diagnosed after a person has died. It has been linked to memory loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, and aggressive behavior.

Greg Clark: ‘Fairly advanced’ CTE

Ann McKee, neurologist and director of the CTE Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, shared the findings of her study of Clark’s brain with USA Today.

McKee said that the football player’s CTE was “fairly advanced”, and his brain was described as being at CTE stage three. Stage four is considered the worst level.

Clark, who was 49 when he died, had been experiencing mental and emotional problems in the years before his death, including depression, anxiety, and excessive fear.

He reportedly was not seeing a therapist, nor receiving medication from a psychiatrist. He only took medications prescribed by a general practitioner.

The importance of CTE diagnosis and treatment

Experts say that people suspected of having CTE should be treated in a more comprehensive manner. There have also been calls for more focus on diagnosing the illness.

Clark’s brain is one of more than 1,200 that have been donated to the CTE Center for studying. Almost 30% of them belong to former players of the NFL.

With the release of the latest findings, Clark is now the 13th NFL player proven to have had CTE at the time of their suicide.

Clark was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third draft of the 1997 NFL Draft, and was a tight end for the franchise from 1997 to 2001.

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