Former football player and long-time broadcaster Ed Cunningham said he is leaving ESPN because of concern over head injuries caused by playing the game.
“In its current state, there are some real dangers: broken limbs, wear and tear,” Cunningham told the New York Times. “But the real crux of this is that I just don’t think the game is safe for the brain. To me, it’s unacceptable.”
Cunningham has been an analyst on ESPN and ABC college football games for about 10 years. Before that he was an offensive lineman in the NFL for five seasons. He was captain of the University of Washington’s 1991 national championship team.
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A number of NFL players have cut their careers short because of concerns over chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a brain disease that is undetectable in live athletes, but has been found in many former NFL players after they died.
The NFL contested the connection between football, head injuries and the long-term health of players. A settlement was recently reached in a lawsuit brought by some players who claimed to be injured against the league.
The NFL is an important source of ratings for ESPN, which airs both professional and college football games.
ESPN had no comment.
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