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Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler took a lot of hits in his 12-year career. He's still thinking about them after his retirement following the 2017 season.
"Oh, absolutely," Cutler told GQ's Clay Skipper on if he thinks about concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). "I would say definitely my memory isn't the same as it was 5 years ago. The amount of concussions I've had are probably in the double digits. It's gonna catch up to me at some point. I'm just trying to delay it as much as possible."
Cutler says he's trying to delay impacts of head trauma
CTE, a degenerative brain disease, has been found in former football players and athletes of other sports where repeated head trauma is common. It is a disease prominent among football players and many athletes have died young with it. It can be diagnosed only postmortem.
Cutler's final concussion came Nov. 19, 2017, per the New York Post.
His plan is to try and delay the impacts of head trauma he said he knows are coming. Via GQ:
"[I'm] trying to cut sugar. Heavy amounts of fish oil have been tied to health in the brain. I'm doing NAD [Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide]. I'm doing it through IVs now. NAD is in all the cells in your body, the mitochondria, the energy that pushes each cell to function. As you get older, you lose NAD. So I'm doing NAD therapy, which, at a core level, helps everything in your body. I've noticed that that's definitely helped me. Anything I can do these days, I'm trying to get involved in."
There is no proven treatment regime for CTE, but the NAD treatment option is emerging as a potential, promising option.
Boston University researchers have led the way on information regarding the disease and possess the world's largest brain bank to study it. They have experienced an uptick in donations of brains from football players who were 34 years or younger when they died, per The New York Times.
Two days after Cutler's Q&A with GQ went live, former San Francisco 49ers tight end Greg Clark died unexpectedly and his family said he suffered from CTE symptoms. They asked for further research in a statement.
Would Cutler play again knowing about CTE now?
Cutler told GQ he's "damaged enough things and brain parts and heart" that if he makes it to 80 years old he'll be happy. The magazine asked him if knowing the risks of playing he knows now, would he go back and play anyway?
Cutler: Absolutely I would. I wouldn't even question it. I'd sign up in a heartbeat.
GQ: Wow. Even with some of the things that might be ahead of you?
Cutler: Oh, absolutely. The relationships that I made, the memories that I have, the lifestyle it's accustomed me and my kids [to]. It outweighs the benefits. In my mind. There may be some people that say, 'Hey, that's crazy.' But I'd do it all over again, no question about it.
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