TitanUp and show some love for Wycheck
Frank Wycheck played in the NFL for 11 years. He was with the Redskins for two and the Titans/Oilers franchise for nine. The tight end is most commonly known for his grit and toughness on the field. Wycheck’s play landed him in the Tennessee Hall of Fame.
Wycheck has been an interesting voice since his playing days. He’s been heard on the radio at 104.5 TheZone and even had a blog on the Titans website at one point.
Paul Kuharsky is ESPN’s Titans reporter and a former reporter for the Tennesseean newspaper. He also works at 104.5. PK, as he is known by many, is also active on twitter, facebook, and periscope. PK is always somewhere talking Titans football.
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This morning, Kuharsky issued a heartfelt request for help for his friend, Frank Wycheck. He wrote an article for ESPN about how Wycheck is suffering from CTE. He is concerned for his friend’s well-being. He is asking for help. PK seems to be asking for some advice in how to be a good friend to Wycheck and be there for him. He also is asking for help for his friend suffering from CTE.
“Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.”
From PK’s article about Wycheck, “But he took a lot of shots to the head and suffered too many concussions. He just got a special ergonomic chair for our studio to help his neck and back issues, problems that typically keep him from completing a round of golf.”
Kuharsky continues on:
“He sounded good, though he said he didn’t recall exactly what he said 10 or 14 days ago when he sat down for an interview with the Nashville Fox affiliate, WZTV. In that interview he fleshed out stuff he’s hinted at or joked about in small doses on his show over the years, and he said he is sure he has CTE, the degenerative brain condition.
He told me he is scared that maybe, one day, he will snap, as others who’ve suffered similarly have snapped, leading them to commit suicide.
It’s a chilling thing to hear from anyone, even if you’ve already worried about it — and even if it, sadly, isn’t a complete surprise.”
Many Titans fans use the phrase “TitanUp” to denote a coming together of fans toward a common goal. Well, let’s TitanUp for Wycheck.
Today, Wycheck tweeted out a thank you to those that reached out to him, including the Titans organization. This was kind but quite premature. Let’s give him something to really be thankful for.
In response to PK’s tweet, I responded with a link to an article on International Business Times’ website. The article mentions a company named Quanterix that has developed a test for CTE. If a person has CTE then their blood will show elevated levels of the protein tau. CTE is only diagnosed after someone has passed away and the brain is dissected. As such, being able to discover that someone has CTE is an advancement of sorts.
I was told this was discussed on Radio Row during Super Bowl week, last week. This is a good sign as it’s a “fresh topic” for people. I have no data of the conversations or discussions.
Someone from Quanterix and/or a representative offered to talk with PK and/or Wycheck about this.
David Schull is the president of Russo Partners-an integrated healthcare communications agency. He replied to PK’s tweets offering up a conversation with former Denver Broncos Jim Joyce and Solomon Wilcots. Schull mentioned the same study that included 200 former NFL players that Quanterix worked on.
This is not enough. We offered Wycheck conversation and reading.
Doing some research of my own…
The Mayo Clinic states that there is no cure for CTE. On their page describing ways to diagnose CTE, they write “There’s been little research on plasma or cerebral spinal fluid to diagnose the long-term disease processes of CTE. Some biomarkers that are used in Alzheimer’s disease research may be useful for CTE because the conditions are similar. These biomarkers would need to identify brain degeneration from CTE separately from the original brain trauma.” This led me down a path googling both Alzheimer’s and CTE.
Kyle Turley and Ricky Williams claim marijuana greatly helped them. SI has a video of it here. The text underneath the video is in regards to a company named Kannalife which also states to have made some progress treating CTE. They boast theiir product is “Something that could change the landscape of how brain injuries of all varieties—from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s—will eventually be treated.”
In 2013, Gary Mihoches wrote an article for USAToday. Junior Seau had passed away recently(at this time) and the article is written with a theme that this research was too late to help him. The text mentions a radioactive compound that attaches itself to the tau protein for diagnosis. Within the text, it was written: “Are there any treatments to eliminate tau protein in the brain cells? “There is some research on anti-tau medications, but they’re not on the market. We don’t know what role that may play.””
Onto Anti-Tau searching now…
MedScape suggests that lithium could cure CTE. It is the only known cure for suicidal tendencies and has a similar effect. This I found discredited elsewhere, but there is quite a bit of text to support it there. It’s just medical and “over my head” to genuinely offer an opinion here.
The Atlantic offers up another study involving marijuana or cannabis here. This time in regards to a pill named Canabidol.
“The researchers recently began a five-year study aimed at creating a pill that athletes could take after a concussion to avert brain damage. They plan to develop this pill using cannabidiol and dexanabinol. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the-113 plus chemical compounds found in cannabis known as cannabinoids. Dexanabinol is a synthetic cannabinoid. Current evidence suggests these two particular cannabinoids have the capability to disrupt the series of chemical reactions that follow a concussion and lead to brain-cell death. CBD activates receptors that trigger a cellular repair mechanism in the brain, while dexanabinol prevents calcium from accumulating in the cells and draining their energy.”
That’s all I’ve found.
My apologies for the bad form of so much pasting in an article. This medical topic is way over my head.