Dez Bryant, ex-NFL players call out league over handling of CTE after Demarius Thomas diagnosis

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports) /

Dez Bryant, Su’a Cravens and other NFL figures are calling out the NFL over the handling of CTE after Demaryius Thomas was posthumously diagnosed.

The news that former Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was suffering from stage 2 CTE at the time of his death last December was met with sad news and calls for action from former and current NFL players on Tuesday.

Thomas likely died of a seizure not related to the CTE but he still spent the final year of his life showing increasingly concerning signs of the condition. Family members have described him struggling with depression, memory loss and paranoia among other symptoms.

After Boston University doctors released their findings from studying Thomas’ brain, former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was one of those who felt the need to speak out.

Dez Bryant and others are calling on the NFL to take CTE seriously

“DT88 my heart weak bro… it’s a lot of us living with CTE and the NFL know it,” Bryant tweeted. “…most importantly the Athletes who have those symptoms are scared to speak… 1 thing about me ain’t living no false life…my love and support for athletes are on a much deeper level than most…”

One athlete who was not afraid to speak about his struggles and the NFL’s lack of interest in them was former Broncos safety Su’a Cravens and he really didn’t hold back.

“NFL will keep ignoring how real this disease is,” Cravens said in a tweet thread.
“I’ve had my disability denied by the league 3 times because, ‘there’s no way of telling where my brain trauma comes from due to playing football before the NFL.’ They are literally wiping their hands of any accountability.

“I’ve had 2 different non NFL doctors rule I was physically disabled due to the concussion I suffered in 2016 and almost lost my vision in my right eye. I was ruled disabled by doctors, but NFL denied me saying there’s simply no way of telling it only stems from my 2016 concussion.

“But if it happened on your watch and the only time I almost went blind was playing professionally, how do you use the logic of ‘you were damaged before’ after saying I was healthy enough to pass 32 NFL Combine physical exams by every team in the league? I was good then? Wow smh.”

Recently retired Ravens safety also weighed in with a tweet saying, “CTE is real and shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

The NFL has programs for players to utilize during and after their playing careers, but there are valid questions about how easy it is for former athletes to get the help they need. There are even bigger concerns about whether or not the league is doing enough to prevent the disease which has no cure.

If Thomas had stage 2 CTE at 33 years old, it’s almost certain current pros are currently playing with the disease.

With more than 300 former NFL players diagnosed with CTE after their deaths by Boston University, more has to be done to keep that number from growing exponentially.

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