Raiders legend Ken Stabler took a beating in his playing days, as NFL quarterbacks often do.
He wasn’t a big fan of the training room, and never let his teammates see him squirm. The pain of playing football doesn’t last for a career. For many, it’s a lifetime.
Stabler was in the latter category, and wanted to do something about it. That’s why, after his death on Wednesday from complications of colon cancer, Stabler’s donated his brain to science.
According to a statement released by his family on Thursday, Stabler’s brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephlopathy center, an authority in researching degenerative brain disease in athletes.
Head injuries, especially to football players, were thrust into the spotlight following the suicide of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau. After his death, it was discovered that Seau had CTE when he chose to take his own life in May 2012.
Many before and after Seau have struggled with CTE, which has also sparked attempted improvements in player safety.
It was an issue in the Bay Area this offseason, when 49ers linebacker Chris Borland chose to retire after one NFL season due to concerns over head trauma caused by playing football.
Stabler was one of 74 plaintiffs in a 2012 lawsuit against the NFL for head trauma suffered while playing in the league. This topic was clearly important to Stabler and his family, as they’ve asked for donations to his foundation to support research for colon cancer and sports-related head trauma.