Given the extensive knowledge that is being accumulated these days about the game of football and brain trauma, it’s only natural that players would start to investigate this matter more than they have in the past. One player who wouldn’t sign on to playing in 2017 before finding out if it was relatively safe is Haloti Ngata of the Detroit Lions.
Following the lead of his agent, Ngata found a neurologist to help him make the determination about whether to play or retire.
“I went and talked to a neurologist, wanted to make sure my head was good, all that,” Ngata said, per Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. “He said everything was pretty good, really good actually. I was like, ‘All right, I’m going to keep on playing.’ My wife was like, ‘I guess so.’”
According to the report, Ngata underwent brain scans and psychological testing to ensure his brain is healthy. The results of those tests helped him come to the decision that playing football is still something he feels comfortable doing.
“With all the things that going on with brain stuff throughout the league, you definitely keep an eye on it,” Ngata said. “You hear that stuff and you don’t want to have problems when you’re older. I want to be able to raise my kids and be able to play with them when they’re older and still be able to beat them in wrestling matches and stuff when they’re teenagers.”
Many players who have retired from the game have said recently that they suffer from CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The condition causes wild mood swings, depression and has led to some players ending their own lives.
With all that in mind, what Ngata did this offseason to help him decide if football is still a viable choice is something all players should consider doing every year.