The New York Times reported this morning that Alabama great Ken Stabler had a severe form of CTE, the degenerative disease that has been linked to concussions among football players:
N.F.L. Great Ken Stabler Had Brain Disease C.T.E. - The New York Times
On a scale of 1 to 4, Stabler had high Stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., the degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, according to researchers at Boston University. The relationship between concussions and brain degeneration is still poorly understood, and some experts caution that other factors, like unrelated mood problems or dementia, might contribute to symptoms experienced by those later found to have had C.T.E.
The equipment available during Snake's glory days was certainly inferior to that afforded today's players. Still, this is a major hot button issue that is not going away. At some point American football will be a thing of the past if serious strides aren't made in the area of player safety.