The former NFL running back has come forward with fears that he could be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease that is caused by multiple blows to the head.
Larry Johnson was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2003 NFL Draft during the first round pick, released in 2009 and from 2009 to 2011 Johnson had done brief stints in Cincinnati, Washington and in Miami where he played his last game.
It’s been six years since Johnson has played in the NFL and now he’s speaking out to the Washington Post in an elaborate piece that was published today by Kent Babb. In this piece, Johnson says that he has been suffering with anxiety, paranoia and “the occasional self-destructive impulse,” something that Johnson refers to as “blank spots.”
These are all symptoms of a person who has CTE and the now 38-year old told Kent Babb that he’s afraid “he won’t remember his own name” by the time he’s 50 years old.
“One is telling you to do it; one is telling you don’t,” Johnson said regarding his urges to commit suicide. “One is telling you it’d be fun.”
So far, Johnson has been arrested six times and has several domestic violence related cases and according to that Washington Post article, it was his violent streak that and multiple arrests that caused him to lose the friendship that he held with Jay-Z too.
Johnson is making a “time capsule” for his seven year old daughter in case he ever gets to that point in his life where he can’t remember specifics.
“If I can’t remember who I was, I’ve got YouTube; I’ve got music video that I’m making for myself, so when I watch these things I can remember,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to get these things in order so she knows who I am and what I came from.”
Johnson knew he had to do something after he learned the news that Aaron Hernandez had committed suicide and it was later determined that Hernandez was “the most severe case they had ever seen in someone of Aaron’s age.”
Studies have indicated that CTE was something detected during an autopsy after death, but in recent times they believe there is a way to detect the disease on a living athlete.
The Los Angeles Times did a story saying, “Researchers from Boston University’s School of Medicine have identified an inflammatory protein circulating in spinal fluid that may reflect the presence of CTE in patients’ brains. That telltale protein, called CLL11, appears likely to make its way into the bloodstream, where it might readily reveal the presence of a degenerative process akin to premature aging in the brain.”
The first case of CTE detected of a living person was in a former NFL player, Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill before he passed away in 2015.
Go check out Larry Johnson’s story in the Washington Post.
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