It has been announced that another ex-NFL player took his own life. Paul Oliver was 29 years old and had many years ahead of him, however, Oliver was found dead this week from a self inflicted gunshot. Oliver was an ex-San Diego Charger where he played from 2007 to 2011. Family, friends, teammates and former coaches stated that this was shocking news when they found out; they all looked at Oliver as a well liked hard working guy.
This certainly is a tragedy for all who had a chance to know Oliver, nonetheless this is just one of many tragedies that the NFL has faced in recent years. We all remember the tragic loss of star linebacker Junior Seau at the age of 43. Seau took his own life, yet it was later determined he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy also known as CTE.
CTE is caused by multiple hits to the head and has affected several past NFL players. This past December the journal Brain published a study which looked at brain tissue from 34 ex-NFL players after their death, 33 of the 34 ex-players showed evidence of CTE.
This certainly is an eye opening number and the NFL is well aware and has tried to promote player saftey. In the past few years the NFL has been fining players for helmet-to-helmet hits and has even gone as far as suspending players. Now we all know football is a brutal sport and in the NFL the players are bigger, faster and nastier than they used to be. The NFL can only do so much to protect the players on the field and they have taken the steps in the right direction but there has been protest to these rules.
Some fans, coaches, current players, and ex-players have been against the new rules, but the numbers show you that these rules are needed. We have to remember these players aren’t just icons, they are individuals. Just like many of us these individuals have families and they hope that each day when they go to work, they can return home safely. The NFL has promoted these rules and Roger Goodell has stated:
“There is no higher priority for the National Football League than the health and wellness of our players”
Even though it hasn’t been determined if Oliver was suffering from CTE, you can guarantee the NFL will continue its efforts to promote player safety for years to come. Nevertheless, Oliver’s loss is a tragedy to the NFL community and his friends and family.