Until June of this year, 29-year old Eugene Monroe was a well-respected offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. Now, after a tumultuous couple months, Monroe is joining the growing number of NFL players to retire from the sport because of fears about long-term brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The starting offensive tackle was released by the Baltimore Ravens last month, which Monroe believes is due to his loud support for medical marijuana as a treatment for relieving pain for athletes. Since then, it appears the athlete has been reflecting on his future in the sport, as he announced his retirement earlier today.
Writing on the Players’ Tribune, Monroe described the symptoms he is already experiencing. Despite being relatively young, the player believes he is already living with the effects of CTE – a neurodegenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma.
“The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact,” Monroe wrote. “Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.”
“My wife used to joke about the ‘little things I forget,’ but now she’s more concerned about things like me putting my phone in the freezer and then tearing up our house looking for it. Things like that were just a joke around the house until this past winter, when my four-year-old daughter said, ‘Daddy you don’t remember anything!’ Since then, she’s said it a few more times.”
Monroe isn’t the only player to retire during this offseason with concerns about head injuries. Well-known Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired recently. Last year, after seeing the film Concussion, Ferguson wrote a lengthy story for SI.com where he said he “felt betrayed” by the league for their negligence in handling brain injuries.