Five years have gone by since we lost our Joseph to suicide and CTE. Seems like yesterday when I watched him walk out the door, the last time I saw him alive. Time does not heal the wounds, every day that passes knowing he is never coming back is more painful. At times the grief is unbearable, I know I have to cope with the reality he will never walk through the door again.
Each year for many families this is becoming a reality also. Each year knowing the children are running onto the football field, or entering a boxing ring makes me nauseated knowing they are being exposed to brain damage which substantially increases their risk of early onset of a neurological disease. Each year, parents and coaches are brainwashed with the “safer than ever” hype promoted by the sport industry to use children for their feeder system for their own benefit. The benefits pay off for the promoters, yet in the end those in the feeder system are the ones who suffer.
I never knew what CTE was until my son died, had I known about this brain disease, which has been swept under the rug for many years, I would have never let my three sons play tackle football. When will parents and coaches realize that repetitive hits in heavy, plastic, helmets not made for kids will cause brain damage?
The answer is, when it’s too late.
There is no taking the head out of the game. The head is in the game, both mentally and physically, and cannot be removed. This we learned too late, and the regrets I have weigh on my mind daily, the suffering will continue for my family forever. Knowing my son’s brain was being destroyed by a disease we never suspected, or were even warned that it existed, is devastating and we have to live with these thoughts forever.
As the years pass we will read of many more CTE victims as millions of children have been exposed to brain damage from repetitive hits. Do the benefits really outweigh the risk? Many injuries and deaths can be prevented by eliminating tackling, headers, checking, sparing and boxing. #saveyourbrain
By: Debbie Pyka