Recently there’s been a lot of attention paid, and press about, the link between the repeated head injuries that football players suffer and long-term brain problems such as dementia and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). But there hasn’t been much talk about concussions and Parkinson’s Disease.
Former Green Bay Packer Forrest Gregg and his doctor would like to change that. That’s because Gregg, who suffered concussions during his NFL career, now has Parkinson’s Disease. But his physician, Dr. Rajeev Kumar, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the league has not been willing to get behind research on whether there’s a connection between concussions and Parkinson’s.
According to the Journal Sentinel, Parkinson’s not only affects a person’s ability to walk and his or her motor functions, but long-term it often leads to dementia. Gregg is in his late 70s, and it looks like his odds of getting dementia are high.
Gregg said that he wants to become an advocate for Parkinson’s research, and is working with groups such as the Wisconsin Parkinson’s Association.
He’s fighting a good cause: Research should not only be exploring the link between concussions and dementia, it should be probing if head injuries lead to Parkinson’s.