DeAndre Levy spoke out at length about CTE and the issues he has with how the NFL presents information about brain injuries.
On Tuesday afternoon, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press shared an article about DeAndre Levy and CTE. Birkett reached out to Levy for some insight following the linebacker’s recent comments made on Instagram about Elliot Pellman and Jim Irsay, both of whom appear to be CTE deniers. Pellman has become a household name among football fans since links between football and CTE first began, and especially with the film release of Concussion. He has repeatedly denied any connection between football and CTE on behalf of the NFL and downplayed the role concussions have on long term brain injuries. He is still currently employed by the NFL as the medical director. Jim Irsay, the outspoken owner of the Indianapolis Colts, recently made statements insinuating that health risks in football are similar to side effects of aspirin. While no one is disputing whether or not Irsay can handle his fair share when it comes to pill-popping, his comments are, at the very least, misguided and tone deaf.
Levy was quick to point that out in his email responses to Birkett. It’s a great read in its entirety as it covers his concerns about the NFL and why he is still playing. I love that Levy doesn’t shy away from calling people out in matters that concern him and his career. Tons of players would be afraid of fines or the distraction speaking out could cause. Those, of course, are poor excuses but very easy ones to claim if a player wanted to keep quiet on the matter. I think Levy should be applauded for blowing past that and using his platform to stand up for players’ rights and to challenge to league to do better. They should. So keep reading to check out some of his best quotes from the article and be sure to follow Levy’s Instagram account so you can be on top of it the next time he calls out an NFL representative.
Regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
“The last thing I want to think about while preparing or playing in a game is potential brain damage…Like maybe my head buzzing a day after a game isn’t normal. Maybe the emotional highs and lows of a football game/season and beyond aren’t normal.”
“Compensation isn’t an excuse to hide or downplay the facts. We need to know the risks and the rewards.”
“It’s scary to think I may have CTE.”
“I’m going to pull a Jim Caldwell and drop a quote that resonates with me: ‘Silence is an action.’ That’s why I feel the need to say something. If I say nothing, I’m condoning the misinformation that’s spreading.”
“It’s unacceptable to prioritize the marketability and profitability of football over the real health risks associated with it.
Regarding his health
“Training and rehab is going great. I have been doing everything in the weight room since a few weeks after the season ended. Last thing I have to do still is actually play football.”
Regarding why he continues to play football
“…These are relatively new revelations for me. I feel like I put all this time and effort in, and I’d be stopping short and not walking away with what I earned. Not necessarily for me, but for my family. I’m in Year 8, so, to an extent, I’m closer to finishing what I started officially 23 years ago. I’ve put in a lot of hours, going back to the beginning of high school, when I really decided to go for this. Dreaming of it since little league — long before I knew anything about concussions or the long-lasting effects of the collisions. Like, my damage potentially already is done. If so, I might as well secure comfort for my family so I leave with more than just a beat-up body. If I were at the beginning of my career, it’s more likely that I’d be in Bhutan or somewhere already. I really do love the competition and the challenges that football provides. At this point, it’s about making sure that anyone playing across all levels know the risks so that their decision isn’t based on one-sided misinformation being provided by the league.”