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Erik Kramer Survives Apparent Suicide Attempt

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I'm sure the death of his son has a lot to do with this. Why people want to try something like heroin or meth is beyond me. You know the chances are you will become addicted to a drug that may will ruin your life. Hopefully Erik can get whatever help he needs to get through this.

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I don't know how many concussions he had during his career. I don't remember him getting hit hard for the Lions, but he didn't play for the Lions very long. It's a long line of problems for football players, I hope they can figure that all out.

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Do we know if this was related to that or maybe it was something else...

If it were concussion related then it's bad.... the NFL won't exist in 40 years. It might but it'll be a niche sport in the south....

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Do we know if this was related to that or maybe it was something else...

If it were concussion related then it's bad.... the NFL won't exist in 40 years. It might but it'll be a niche sport in the south....

There's going to be a finger pointed at the NFL any time a former player does something like this. How much truth there is the "concussions being the cause" idea might be hard to know for sure.

It might be interested to compare depression/suicides in ex-football players vs. less heavy hitting sports like Basketball, Baseball, or Soccer.

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Do we know if this was related to that or maybe it was something else...

If it were concussion related then it's bad.... the NFL won't exist in 40 years. It might but it'll be a niche sport in the south....

WAY to popular, makes WAY too much money to just not exist. They will either offer lifetime medical or sign waivers not to sue.

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There's going to be a finger pointed at the NFL any time a former player does something like this. How much truth there is the "concussions being the cause" idea might be hard to know for sure.

It might be interested to compare depression/suicides in ex-football players vs. less heavy hitting sports like Basketball, Baseball, or Soccer.

My guess is if you have people that have been around the individual and notice a change in behaviors over time consistent with what has been seen with past athletes who were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, it probably is a good indicator concussions are the cause.

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I don't know how many concussions he had during his career. I don't remember him getting hit hard for the Lions, but he didn't play for the Lions very long. It's a long line of problems for football players, I hope they can figure that all out.

Repetitive sub-concussive hits can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, so I don't know if the number of concussions he had is the significant thing.

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Repetitive sub-concussive hits can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, so I don't know if the number of concussions he had is the significant thing.

Plus when Kramer played they weren't even trying to keeping very good track anyway.

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Awful story. Football is a glorious game, but brutal. Stories like these make me feel guilty for watching.

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There's going to be a finger pointed at the NFL any time a former player does something like this. How much truth there is the "concussions being the cause" idea might be hard to know for sure.

It might be interested to compare depression/suicides in ex-football players vs. less heavy hitting sports like Basketball, Baseball, or Soccer.

League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis | FRONTLINE | PBS

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My guess is if you have people that have been around the individual and notice a change in behaviors over time consistent with what has been seen with past athletes who were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, it probably is a good indicator concussions are the cause.

FWIW, the article didn't say anything about Kramer having CTE or symptoms of CTE, just depression. Okay, well I'd guess depression would certainly be a side effect of CTE, but it's also not the only thing that could cause depression. And that's kinda what I'm getting at.

I suspect that pro-athletes in general are probably more prone to depression post-career than other people are. I have no training in this area, so just spit-balling here... I could easily be way off my rocker. But it seem to me that pro-athletes who've made it to the very pinnacle of the sports world have to be no only very physically gifted, but also very mentally driven. They crave the competition, the accolades, the glory... I think when that goes away when an athlete retires... especially when they typically retire at a young(ish) age that that can have a negative effect on a player.

Again, pure speculation on my part, but I'm guessing that pro-athletes in general probably suffer from depression after retirement at a greater rate than other professions.

TO BE CLEAR: I'm not denying that CTE is real or that concussion can and do cause major mental issues in some people.

The question that I have is that is the depression rate of NFL players compared to MLB, or NBA players? Is it statistically significantly more? If so, the NFL needs to keep working on this problem. Or is it just slightly more, in which case, the NFL should still be concerned about concussions, but maybe work to identify and educate and work at what the other causes might be.

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FWIW, the article didn't say anything about Kramer having CTE or symptoms of CTE, just depression. Okay, well I'd guess depression would certainly be a side effect of CTE, but it's also not the only thing that could cause depression. And that's kinda what I'm getting at.

I suspect that pro-athletes in general are probably more prone to depression post-career than other people are. I have no training in this area, so just spit-balling here... I could easily be way off my rocker. But it seem to me that pro-athletes who've made it to the very pinnacle of the sports world have to be no only very physically gifted, but also very mentally driven. They crave the competition, the accolades, the glory... I think when that goes away when an athlete retires... especially when they typically retire at a young(ish) age that that can have a negative effect on a player.

Again, pure speculation on my part, but I'm guessing that pro-athletes in general probably suffer from depression after retirement at a greater rate than other professions.

TO BE CLEAR: I'm not denying that CTE is real or that concussion can and do cause major mental issues in some people.

The question that I have is that is the depression rate of NFL players compared to MLB, or NBA players? Is it statistically significantly more? If so, the NFL needs to keep working on this problem. Or is it just slightly more, in which case, the NFL should still be concerned about concussions, but maybe work to identify and educate and work at what the other causes might be.

Depression is a symptom of CTE, and it read to me like Erik's ex-wife was suggesting that he wasn't always depressed and further she suspects that repetitive head trauma contributed to it.

She was also saying the the symptoms first started when he was in Chicago, so I don't know if it was loss of career that caused the depression in his specific case.

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I don't have the time right now to watch the whole thing. Does it discussion the NFL rate of depression vs. other leagues?

I don't remember, but I can tell that you haven't seen it and have only been fed the NFL media Kool-Aid. It's a good and eye-opening watch.

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I don't remember, but I can tell that you haven't seen it and have only been fed the NFL media Kool-Aid. It's a good and eye-opening watch.

Oh, I fully accept that the NFL downplayed concussions for way too long and should pay out some for it... I'm more trying to say that moving forward any time an NFL player shows signs of mental issues the first reaction is going to be: Concussions!

A number of weeks ago some relative of a friend of my wife's had issues with scabies. From then on any time someone in the family presented with a skin issue her first thought was that the person had scabies. Rash? Maybe it's scabies. A red mark? I wonder if it's scabies. You have a itch path of skin? Bet it's scabies! It was kinda funny in a way.

But this is how ex-NFL players and any mental issues have gone. Look at the original article: ex-NFL player tries to commit suicide. Family says he was depressed for many years. That's all the "facts" that they have about the guy, but the story made sure to include a paragraph about other players who had CTE and who committed suicide.

We don't know if Kramer has CTE. None of the other common symptoms of CTE are mentioned in the story (From Wiki: Individuals with CTE may show symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression, which generally appear years or many decades after the trauma.) To be fair we're not told that Kramer didn't have these other symptoms either and the article never specifically says that Kramer has CTE or even might have CTE.

But it certainly leaves the reader to think: Seau had CTE and killed himself. Duerson had CTE and killed himself. Must be that Krammer had CTE and tried to kill himself.

But we don't know if Krammer had CTE at this point. We don't know if he suffered many, or any, concussion. We do know (at least as reported to by his ex-wife) that Krammer suffered from depression. But even here we don't know why... was it because of minor head injuries he sustained in football? Maybe. Was it because he had a hard time adjusting to post "sports hero" life? Maybe. Was it because his son OD'd? I gotta think that certainly didn't help things.

But the conventional wisdom is: Ex-NFL player suffering from mental issues? Must be because the sport is so violent and dangerous.

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Sad news.

Erik the Great is the fifth leading passer in Bears history, measured by yards, fourth if you measure by attempts or completions.

I believe he also holds the single season record with passing yards at 3,838. Cutler has come pretty close to that, but Kramer still holds it I believe.

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A bit of gallows humor... if that ain't your thing, don't look...

From the linked story:

"He is a very amazing man, a beautiful soul, but he has suffered depression since he was with the Bears," Marshawn Kramer said...

I'd be depressed too if I was stuck with the Bears.

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Oh, I fully accept that the NFL downplayed concussions for way too long and should pay out some for it... I'm more trying to say that moving forward any time an NFL player shows signs of mental issues the first reaction is going to be: Concussions!

.....

But the conventional wisdom is: Ex-NFL player suffering from mental issues? Must be because the sport is so violent and dangerous.

Often times the obvious explanation is the accurate one.

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Often times the obvious explanation is the accurate one.

And many times it isn't.

I think it's likely that Kramer has depression as a result of repetitive head trauma, but there remains the possibility that his depression is unrelated to head trauma.

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Of course it is possible.

I don't think anyone suggested or inferred it wasn't possible. I know I chose my words to reflect uncertainty.

I just was commenting on Red's text wall regarding conventional wisdom.

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And many times it isn't.

I think it's likely that Kramer has depression as a result of repetitive head trauma, but there remains the possibility that his depression is unrelated to head trauma.

Which is why I'd love to see a comparison between MLB and NBA players vs. NFL players in terms of mental health issues post career.

If (just picking random numbers) 10% of former MLB and NBA players suffer from mental health issues and 12% of former NFL players suffer from the same... that's a small enough gap that I'd say there isn't conclusive proof that the violent nature of Football leads to mental health issues. And therefore the 'obvious' answer is likely NOT the correct one.

Alternately, if 10% of MLB and NBA players do and 20% of NFL players do... that's a pretty big difference and leads me to suspect that the violent nature of football is a likely factor.

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Very interesting article, but also hard to gauge against other sports or even "normal" people.

Beginning in 2010 the researchers examined 34 ex-players from around north Texas. Their mean age was 62. Thirty-two of them had suffered at least one known concussion; one participant reported 13. Twenty of the men showed normal cognition through a battery of tests. Those who didn't were diagnosed with some degree of cognitive impairment or, in two cases, dementia. Eight men, or nearly a quarter of the participants, were diagnosed with depression.

This doesn't tell me much of anything. First, 34 is not a large number. Second, a mean age of 62 is relatively old and as this is the mean, obviously some are older. How much of the cognitive impairment is due to injuries suffered in football and how much of it is due to just old age or other possible factors?

And nearly a quarter diagnosed with depression? I'm married with two kids. Family of four. Of those four people, 1 person has been diagnosed (by a doctor, not self diagnosed) with social anxiety and depression stemming from that. 1 person has been diagnosed (again, by a doctor) with stress based depression. And a further one gets so stinking anxious about live that he'll probably end up with some level of depress (but this one is just a guess... no doctor here). So... damn that football causing my family depression!!

What's the percentage of the general population with a mean age of 62 that has depression? What's the percentage of former athletes with depression?

I will credit the article for this:

We don't know whether taking a shot in high school or college is worse than taking one later in life. We don't know whether being able to brace for a blow helps mitigate it. We don't know if co-variants such as smoking or high cholesterol might intensify the effects of head trauma.

In short, we don't know, Hart says, when we watch football, "Are we watching a train wreck?"

They at least acknowledge that there are lots of unknowns here... but at the same time, there's this:

Depression should scare the **** out of anyone who has been concussed, soldiers and athletes alike. Junior Seau was depressed and then he killed himself. Ray Easterling was depressed and then he killed himself. Dave Duerson was depressed and then he killed himself. Jovan Belcher was depressed and then he killed the mother of his child and then he killed himself.

Again, the unspoken assumption: Concussions lead to depression due to concussions which lead to suicide cause football is violent and a train wreck.

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Of course it is possible.

I don't think anyone suggested or inferred it wasn't possible. I know I chose my words to reflect uncertainty.

I just was commenting on Red's text wall regarding conventional wisdom.

I do think that when it comes to the NFL and head injuries and the related stuff that there is a heavily implication of a definitive causal link.

And that's fine. The NFL deserves the scrutiny on the issue, especially with how they have acted toward it.

I just think the gray area tends to get lost in these discussions.

At the moment, there is really no evidence of the cause of his depression, though I do think that it is more likely than not that his condition is related to head trauma. But I don't base that on anything other than the information we have regarding other former players

That said, depression in its own isn't particularly rare and affects a lot of people that have never had any sort of significant head trauma.

So I just think it's important to remember that when discussing a particular single data point and not to jump to a conclusion that because he played football it must be because of the head trauma, even though I freely admit that it is my suspicion that it is the case.

I didn't mean to imply that you thought the alternative wasn't possible. Your comment was just so wonderfully pithy that I felt the need to provide the editorial balance with my own.

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