To date, researchers have diagnosed CTE in 110 out of the 111 former NFL players who have donated their brains for study. That group includes five of the league’s most legendary players which we will break down for you:
Aaron Hernandez had recently been found not guilty of a 2012 double homicide, so one can imagine that his suicide came as a complete shock. A postmortem brain scan would later reveal that Hernandez had been suffering from CTE.
A versatile player for the New York Giants, Frank Gifford won five NFL championships in the 1950s and 1960s. Though he died of natural causes, Gifford’s family released a statement in 2015 that confirmed a postmortem diagnosis of CTE.
With 27,938 passing yards during his 15-year NFL career playing for the Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Houston Oilers, and the New Orleans Saints, Ken Stabler was a legend. The native of Foley, Alabama was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1974 and would go on to lead the Raiders to a Super Bowl win in 1977.
In November of 2006, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Andre Waters went outside onto the pool deck of his Tampa home with a .32-caliber pistol and took his own life at the age of 44. “Football killed him,” Bennet Omalu, MD was quoted at the time after he had performed an examination on Waters’ brain.
Seau’s untimely death came just a short time after the 2011 suicide of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson, who also suffered from CTE incidentally also shot himself in the chest.