March 23, 2023

The effects of CTE are not definitively diagnosed until after a person has died, but are often found in football players when researchers are allowed to perform autopsies, and the effects can be quite pronounced: confusion and memory loss, spasms of anger and argument, communication and decision-making Ability drops sharply.

“You just see them really become completely different people,” said Heike Crane, widow of Paul Crane, who played center and linebacker at Alabama and eventually developed before his death in 2020 CTE.

Yet some 60 years ago, long before CTE was a recognized risk, in places like Alabama, football was a signpost to wealth, status and jealousy. Even now, in their misery, players and their families are often reluctant to wish football away from campus or American culture. Some say, change the sport, but stick with it.

For many who competed, the health threat was a worthwhile personal sacrifice at the time.

“I’m from a small town in Tennessee,” said Steve Sloan, Alabama’s starting quarterback in the 1960s, who later served as athletic director there and played at Duke, Mississippi, Texas Sri Lanka Polytechnic and Vanderbilt serve as football coaches.

“I want to get a scholarship, I want to get a degree, and if it’s a blow to the head, that’s okay,” said Sloan, who said he hasn’t experienced severe symptoms of CTE. Just lucky. “

Like Sloan, Ray Perkins came to Tuscaloosa to find a life outside the small country town where he grew up. Bryant, who won six national championships before his death in 1983, now has a tie to his name on the 100,077-seat campus stadium.

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