Warren Sapp is one of the NFL’s most beloved icons, both because of his play on the field as well as his personality. Sadly, it seems as if the game that gave him so much, both in terms of accomplishments as well as notoriety, has also taken something from him, though.
In a recent feature on The Players’ Tribune, Sapp opened up about how his time in the trenches of the NFL has impacted the health of his brain. He started by relaying the struggles of Nick Buoniconti, a Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker who has been suffering the effects the game of football can and does have on the human brain, but he was also vulnerable about his own struggles.
“I’ve also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career. My memory ain’t what it used to be. And yeah, it’s scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend’s house I’ve been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg. So when it comes to concussions, CTE and how we can make our game safer for future generations, I wanted to put my two cents in — to help leave the game better off than it was when I started playing.”
Sapp, as a lover of the game of football, has become an advocate for safety in the game. Safety depends heavily on research at the moment, especially research involving CTE, otherwise known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy — an affliction many former football players have struggled with.
In a video released to The Players’ Tribune, Sapp revealed that he’ll be donating his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. He’s also advocating eliminating tackle football for kids wanting to play the game who haven’t yet reached the high school level. At that point, it becomes more about teaching and coaching skills and fundamentals instead of hitting and putting underdeveloped brains at risk.
You can watch Sapp’s video below:
Sapp played in the NFL for 13 seasons, spending the first nine seasons of his career as a superstar for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — with whom he won a Super Bowl — before ending his career with the Oakland Raiders. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Sapp played college football at the University of Miami (FL).
(H/T TMZ Sports)