It's a brain disease that's been found in 99% of deceased former NFL players who have been tested. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE is a condition scientists know very little about.
Grand Haven High School Athletic Director Scott Roberston has watched CTE make its way to the headlines over the last few years. But what has startled Robertson the most is the little information we know about the degenerative disease. So when given the opportunity to potentially change that, he couldn't pass it up.
"CTE is a big issue right now and something that I have thought a great deal about," the former collegiate athlete said.
"I was a linebacker at Colorado College in the mid 80's," Robertson said. "I made a lot of hits, absolutely."
He made at least a hundred hits, during a time when concussion protocol and limited contact practices were not standard practice, which is why Robertson is trying to figure out if those hits did anything to him.
"For someone who played as long as I did, in the position I did, it certainly does give me pause and concern for a little bit of myself."
Robertson traveled to Boston, Massachusetts last week to take part in the Diagnose CTE Research Project. Right now, CTE can only be diagnosed after death, but scientists hope that studying living former athletes will help develop a way to diagnose the disease during life.
"I had a series of scans, pet scans, cat scans, MRI's, gave blood, gave me a spinal tap. My hope that being part of this. We're able to come up with some conclusions and find out more for the bank of knowledge that is growing when it comes to CTE."
Though the seven year study won't tell Robertson if he has CTE any time soon, his participation may be the answer that'll help the future players to come.
"I want all kids playing sports if there's a way to provide a greater level of safety, that's part of our message, to ensure we do everything we can."
Robertson says the research project is still looking for volunteers. The former linebacker plans to donate his brain for CTE research when he passes.
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