Top CTE Media Stories From 2017

While there hundreds of media stories in 2017 about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy(CTE), these ten stories were the most important stories of the year.

Pro athletes make up most of the headlines over the last decade, but this year begins the long over due shift from professionals, to the real story of the millions of children who have played only for fun.

The brain damage exposure to children over the last 4 decades covered by the football industry including helmet manufacturers, regulators and governing bodies had left young men as young as 18, dead with CTE.

10. Reporter’s Notebook: Behind the Scenes Before Super Bowl

9. Concussions, CTE & Acts of Violence

8. Expert: Football Helmets May Be a Safety Risk for Young Players

7. Not Just an NFL Problem: Brain Damage & High School Football

6. Football and CTE: The dilemma for parents

5. Fotball’s Concussion Crisis Is Killing Former High School Players, Too

Pictured: Dr. Michael King

4. Youth Football Decline

3. Concussion Doctor Says Youth Football is Child Abuse

Pictured: Dr. Bennet Omalu, Cindy Feasel (Author, After the Cheering Stops)

2. Grief Overshadows the Super Bowl

Pictured: Leah Goodwin former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, Debbie Pyka CTE Mom, Nicki Langston CTE Mom, Tiffani Bright, Kimberly Archie CTE Mom, Mary Seau, Jo Cornell CTE Mom, Ben Langston

1. California Class Action Lawsuit Against Pop Warner

Pictured: Tiffani Bright(sister), Paul Bright Jr., and Kimberly Archie(mother)

Pictured: Tyler Cornell, Jo Cornell

American capitalism is controlled by litigation and insurance. Sports are no exception, with that in mind, it’s crystal clear that litigation is the vehicle of change to protect child athletes.

There is no greater force than a mother protecting her children. The NFL, a true Goliath of capitalism has met their match with the ultimate David, moms on a mission.

Written by Kimberly Archie

The Bright Side: Finding Miracles in Tragedy

As the holiday season is in full swing, I continue to grieve the loss of my only son to the mind robbing disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. I also am taking the time to find the miracles in tragedy as well.

Paul was a giving person who loved to make others happy. He enjoyed giving back, whether it was giving a friend a ride, by buying lunch for a homeless person, or cooking a meal that was sure to delight your taste buds.

Long before Paul’s death in 2014, I often would share with friends either in person, or by a social media post, that my gift in life was finding miracles in tragedy. Some examples included living with my own brain injury since I was 9, yet finding my quirks were actually brilliant gifts, then when my daughter was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer we learned to see the bright side of life and the enormous gift each day brings. More than a decade after Janaye’s healing from cancer when Pacific, Gas & Electric blew up my friend’s home killing 8 people, including her son’s girlfriend Jessica Morales, and leaving her son in a coma fighting for his life. We found the miracle of the love of Joe and Jessica’s mothers. Who’s incredible strength to help Joe recover, as well as fight the utility industry for unsafe practices, inspired us all.

As you can imagine losing my only son has put that statement to the ultimate test. Since his passing, I have found myself at times saying, “where is the miracle in this tragedy?”

As the year winds down and I look back, not only on the year, but since the horrific day no parents ever wants to live through. I find myself seeing the bright side and miracles once again. Maybe it’s that time of year, maybe I had too much coffee today, or maybe Paul’s life no matter how short still has the power to make the world a better place?

I think it’s the latter. Paul was a bright light in life, and now an even brighter one in death. Knowing we cannot go back or change the past, I choose to absorb his light in the darkness and vow to see the miracles in his tragic death. That his brain, as the study of the youngest, last year of play football player to ever be found with brain damage and CTE, is lighting the way for more research and policy changes to be made to save many lives in the future.

Because of Paul, his life circumstances, and the more than a decade of legal work by myself and his sister Tiffani, youth tackle football with its repetitive brain trauma as an inherent risk, will be a thing of the past in the very near future. This change will prevent the unnecessary exposure of children to a spectrum of brain damage and disease, leaving the future bright for the next generation of young athletes.

What bigger gift to a sport loving society could our family have given?

As you spend the holidays with your family, please say a little prayer for ours, that while we mourn the empty chair at our Christmas and New Year’s Day dinner table, we continue to see the bright side of life.

That our tragedy, may truly be a gift and miracle after all.

The Head Is In The Game

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.

Joseph Chernach

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