— Tony Dorsett among ex-Cowboys asking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for help
Former Cholla High School and University of Arizona football standout Vance Johnson, who played 11 years in the NFL mostly with the Denver Broncos, is joining other pro football alumni with tests exploring the affects on their brain after playing the sport.
Johnson, who turned 50 on March 13, announced on his Facebook page Friday that he is undergoing four days of various tests along with other NFL alumni “to determine what affects on the brain concussions have effected our moods, depression and other aspects of the day to day lives after our careers.”
He showed one picture of him laying underneath an MRI machine and another that detailed his eye movement.
Johnson’s post comes a day after Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett and other notable former NFL players signed a letter addressed to commissioner Roger Goodell indicating they are concerned about medical care for former players and the league’s “continued denial of the link between repeated head impacts and permanent brain damage.”
The NFL is being sued by about 4,200 players who claim they suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions, which they believe come from on-field concussions.
The issue become more substantive when linebacker great Junior Seau committed suicide in May 2012 with a gun shot wound to the chest at the age of 43. Studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a type of chronic brain damage.
“Seau was a friend of mine, and like him there is something going on inside all of us,” Johnson writes.
Johnson had various injuries throughout his career, including those to his shoulder, knee, ankle, toe and hamstring. Playing almost 20 years of football dating back to his Cholla days Johnson also took his fair share of hits to the helmet, especially as a defenseless receiver exposed to tacklers.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.