During an interview with The Players’ Tribune, NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp opened up about his deteriorating memory and how he has been instituting mechanisms, such as reminders on his phone, that might help him continue to navigate daily life.
Football fans know all about the physicality the former defensive tackle brought to the game throughout his years going head up with the opposition’s biggest guys on the line. What they haven’t known up until now is how much he believes the hits have taken their toll on his body, and more specifically, his brain. CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a controversial diagnosis, especially in the eyes of executives and players who give their lives to the gridiron.
Sapp himself says that he often catches himself attempting to blame any reason he could think of for why his mind has so deteriorated, other than the impact of hits he took to the head as an amateur and then a professional player. But often times, there are no other reasons he could think of. Thus, he’s become more and more active in following through with research on the condition.
Following years of avoidance and denial, Sapp came across an email that changed his perspective. It was a message spread by retired running back Fred Willis, in which he included quotes from NFL owners that seemed to be less than compassionate about the possibility that the abuse players take on the field might contribute to illness. That’s when he was inspired to embrace the research and to step up his involvement in a growing campaign to confront CTE. Sapp he is dead set on contributing to CTE research, announcing that he will be donating his brain to Concussion Legacy Foundation.