NFL Hall of Famer receiver Cris Carter reflected on CTE, football and his own career on Friday during his Fox Sports 1 show — after a study of Aaron Hernandez’s brain showed the ex-New England Patriots tight end, who took his own life in April while serving a life sentence for murder, had an advanced form of CTE.
During an empassioned eight-minute conversation on “First Things First,” Carter said, “I wonder what’s going to happen to our generation?”
.@criscarter80: Am I scared? Yes I’m scared but football has given me everything I love in life.
An emotional Cris Carter on CTE in the NFL pic.twitter.com/nYf7FFpRT0
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) September 22, 2017
Carter added, “I’ve had teammates who killed themselves: Andre Waters, teammate of mine in Philadelphia. I’ve had good friends of mine: Junior Seau, Dave Duerson. Great men, guys that have done tremendous things in their community. All of a sudden they became violent and took their own lives. So I worry. I worry what my future is.”
All of the former players Carter mentioned suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease linked to devastating hits to the brain from playing the sport.
During his 16 years as a wide receiver in the league, Carter said he didn’t sustain “any recorded concussions” and added that while he hasn’t experienced any CTE symptoms, he is still scared he may have the disease, “I would say there is some type of fear.”
“[There is a] fear of the unknown,” he added.
Would Carter change anything in his own career if had the knowledge of CTE when he was younger?
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Carter. “Football gave me a sense of purpose. It gave me a sense of me. There’s not a whole bunch of options in America for a black man. But sports gives you that opportunity … so where would my life be without football? I don’t know. And I hate to think about. … So for me, I still encourage young people. The game is safer now than it’s ever been.”
“I hope the rest of my life works out well,” added Carter, “but I’m willing to suffer the consequences of what it’s done for me.”