Randy Cross: All People That Played Football Should Donate Their Brain

Randy Cross, who played in the NFL from 1976-1988 and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, has announced that he will donate his brain to CTE research after he passes away.

Cross, 62, announced his decision in the Players’ Tribune. For him, it was an easy choice to make.

“Well, it’s a long list (of reasons), but I’ve studied this issue,” the CBS Sports Network college football analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Between opioid dependencies and brain-related things, there’s probably not two more vital things to professional football players or athletes in general that they should be concerned with. I thought it was really just about time. It’s something that not enough people are doing. There’s not enough of a sense of urgency from the powers that be, whether it’s the NFL or college football or whatever – though college football, I will say, has changed rules and done more than their brothers upstairs in the NFL have done. But they need more research material.”

That includes research material from non-football players.

“I would urge all people that played football (to donate),” Cross said. “I would include people that played soccer. I would include people that played basketball. Any kind of athletic endeavor like that, you can get some form of a traumatic brain injury. They need to figure this thing out. My main motivation, to be honest, it’s kind of a pay-it-forward thing. I’m already an organ donor on my license. So to me, it was kind of the same thing. . . . It didn’t take me long to make the decision. It’s something for after. It’s something for once you’re gone and something you can leave.”

Cross said that he is not showing signs of CTE but that his brain could still be of value to researchers.

“It’s not just the guys at 45 or 50 or 40 who start showing signs,” he said. “I didn’t look at is as a real hard, tough decision to make. I played 21 years. Some would say that there are some signs. I’m fine. There’s no problems with me. I still do everything I’ve always done. But you need the normal. You need the guys that come through this, guys that have played forever and don’t show signs of anything, and guys you might’ve played high school with or a little bit of college and you run into them when you’re about 50 or 60 years old, you look at him and you go, ‘Man, he ain’t right. There’s just something different, something wrong.’ That happens all the time.”

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