How many NFL Players have killed themselves due to CTE
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., has affected boxers since the 1920s, but it surged into the national consciousness in 2007, when The New York Times reported that Andre Waters sustained brain damage from playing football, which led to his depression and ultimate death by suicide.
The degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head has been found in the brains of more than 320 former N.F.L. players, Waters the third but whose death brought the condition into the mainstream.
Vincent Jackson, a longtime receiver with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who was found dead in February 2021, was determined to have had a mild form of C.T.E. Demaryius Thomas, a former receiver for the Denver Broncos, was diagnosed with it after his death in December 2021.
C.T.E., which can be diagnosed only posthumously, has been linked to a host of symptoms, including memory loss, depression, aggressive behavior and, sometimes, suicidal thoughts. It is a progressive disease, and the symptoms can arise long after the hits to the head have ceased.
Diagnosed concussions are not reliable indicators of C.T.E. About 20 percent of people found to have C.T.E. never had a diagnosed concussion, according to doctors at the C.T.E. Center at Boston University, who analyzed Jackson’s brain.
The clumps of tau strangle brain cells, diminishing their ability to function before killing them entirely. C.T.E. often affects the dorsolateral frontal cortex, an area critical for cognition and executive function, including working memory, planning and abstract reasoning.