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The NFL's CTE Avalanche Continues
SPORTS 10/06/2039 6:17 AM ET
The NFL's CTE Avalanche Continues
Jack Berry
Former Bears Linebacker, living with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

CC BY 4.0 MRR_0028 by SteelCityHobbies | Writer image: CC BY-SA 4.0 - image changes released under same license headshot by Randal Cooper | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
A career filled with head collisions like this can have a devastating effect.
Today it was confirmed that yet another former NFL player took his life.

LePeter Mbele Kawon, 41 and former linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, drove at high speed into an oncoming semi-trailer on Wednesday, and was instantly killed in the collision.

Pataskala P.D. Police Chief Drew Chanaski provided reporters with a statement confirming that LePeter left his lane and suddenly veered into oncoming traffic. Investigators cited evidence from LePeter's cellphone, which was synced to his car.

Vetiron released both GPS tracking and footage from his car's camera detailing a swift, deliberate change of course. I've spoken to a number of people close to LePeter who suggest that he and his wife Dreanna were arguing before his fatal trip.

Yesterday she tearfully spoke to the media of her husband's suffering.

"He was not himself for so long. He was angry and moody, and would not let anyone close. Sometimes he would just explode in anger. Other times he would just shake," she said.

"He was a good man."

LePeter is the sixth former NFL player to end his life this year. In each case family and friends have identified symptoms suggesting Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is an ongoing problem for the NFL which cannot be ignored any longer. What is supposed to be an American family pastime has been turned into a spectator bloodsport in which a growing percentage of men end their lives after they retire.

Last month, Carey Phillips, four-time pro bowl selection for the Saints, aimed a pistol at his chest and shot himself. He left a note detailing his symptoms (which were identified as being in line with CTE) and asked that his brain be donated for medical research.

In June, former Texans center Clayton Bask reportedly attacked a group of men in a bar in Vidalia, LA, immediately after entering. He was beaten then shot dead. His toxicology report was clean.

In February, former 49ers running back Charmaign Cruise drove his SUV off a cliff.

The variety of ways that former NFL players are finding to kill themselves should be a source of huge concern to the NFL and indeed American sporting community at large.

Because these men sacrificed for their team, their colleagues and the city they adopted, and have been treated as expendable by the NFL.

There still has not been any action forthcoming from the NFL on compensation for players suffering from symptoms of CTE, to succeed the 2015 settlement for retired players.

The NFL has rested on dubious claims of "innovating for player safety" which is a sham. A 2031 study by the University of Maryland's Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences Programs (NACS) showed evidence of brain trauma in 19 out of 20 active players it tested.

For the NFL to sit back and suggest that everything is alright is an outrage. This needs to be a Congressional issue, looking at player safety as a priority concern in the NFL going forward. We also need to address compensation for players shown to be suffering brain trauma, and supporting them in every way, especially in retirement, where too many players lose their way and become prone to bankruptcy, alcoholism, divorce and suicide.

Anything less is just to cut the next LePeter Mbele Kawon loose.
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