With the National Football League still reeling from the shocking murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chief's linebacker Jovan Belcher, this evening "Piers Morgan Tonight" invited Hall of Famer Joe Namath to share his insight on the violent and dangerous nature of America's most popular sport:
"Trauma to the head does cause some problems, the proteins that get active to kill the brain cells," he told Piers Morgan in an exclusive interview. "The more they advance, obviously, the depression sets in, the dementia sets in, various heinous diseases from the brain."
The latest in a list of recent NFL suicides, it's not yet clear as to whether or not Belcher's decision to take his own life can be linked to mental illness stemming from collisions on the field. But according to Namath, each and every time players strap on the equipment, and take their place between the white lines, their health and their lives are at risk:
"The body's not designed to play football. The brain is not designed to take the kind of trauma that football players suffer, that boxers go through, and you pay a price for it," said the 69-year-old former Jets great. "I think today we're further advanced than we have been certainly and so we should be able to monitor these injuries more closely and again, injuries that happen to children falling off of bicycles, little league baseball, we ought to be able to handle this and deal with it more properly down the road than it has been handled."
Belcher's suicide follows those of former football players Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, each of whom killed themselves with a self-inflicted gunshot wound during the last two years.
Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Namath offers further perspective on the physical dangers, and long-term impact, associated with contact sports and head injuries.
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