Wary of CTE, ex-Bears LB Lance Briggs vows to keep brain sharp
Lance Briggs keeps a full schedule.
For one, it reminds him of the structure of the Bears, where he played from 2003-14. Secondly, he wants to keep his brain sharp.
“I want to continue to feed my body and my brain,” the seven-time Pro Bowler said Tuesday. “In that respect, I want to try to keep CTE away as long as I possibly can, and those effects. It affects us all.”
There is no way to test for chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a degenerative brain disease found in former athletes who have had repeated brain trauma — in the living. Briggs said, though, that he’s concerned about his future. The former linebacker stars in Sqor.com’s four-part web series, “Lance Briggs: Time of My Life,” designed to bring awareness to CTE.
Former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson and former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau each committed suicide by shooting themselves in the chest so that their brains could be studied for CTE. Both autopsies found their brains consistent with CTE.
“The good thing for me is, at least I don’t feel like I’m at a level where it’s dangerous or harmful for myself,” Briggs said. “But the stories, the things that you hear, that stuff can be scary.”
Briggs claimed that “all football players have memory issues,” and that he was no different.
In a web episode released Monday, Briggs is filmed outside of Soldier Field talking about the violent nature of the game.
“Even though I’ve never had any suicidal thoughts or anything like that, for it to happen to some great men and great football players, I know I can’t separate myself from that crowd,” he said in the series’ first episode.
Briggs retired in 2015 with 16 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and 15 career sacks.
Since then, he’s gone back to school at the University of Arizona, where he played football. He hosts “The Lance Briggs Show” and does Bears pregame and postgame work, all for CSN Chicago.