NFL Players Say What They Would Do If They Had CTE

A test to see if living patients have a CTE is on the way.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) watches as New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) brings down Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine (32) during a NFL game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants, on November 23, 2017, at Fedex Field, in Landover, Maryland. (Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Currently, there is no test to diagnose CTE in living patients, but the Boston University CTE Center’s Ann McKee thinks one could be ready in as little as five years. This could have all kinds of moral and philosophical issues for active players. Sports Illustrated asked seven NFL players about their thoughts on this test. Kirk Cousins, Tahir Whitehead, Ryan Kalil and Chris Long all said they would take it. Whitehead, who plays for the Lions, said he thinks it would be a good idea to make it a part of youth football and have people get periodically checked, but would want it to be up to the NFL players on whether or not they have to take it. Cousins, a quarterback for Washington, said that it wouldn’t affect his approach to the game, so why not take it. But Steelers player Artie Burns says he “definitely knows he has it” so he doesn’t need a test. Dion Jordan, from the Seahawks, said he wouldn’t take it while he’s still playing. Whitehead also said that if he took it now and it was positive, he would stop playing, because he has a wife and kids. Cousins agreed, saying he’d retire, but it’s “all about timing.”

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