Shane Dronett, former offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons, has been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The discovery was made following his 2009 death, which was ruled a suicide. CNN Health does an excellent job giving a synopsis of his downward spiral. I recommend everyone to take the time to view the story of Dronett, as well as how his erratic behavior affected his family leading up to the self-inflicted termination of his life.
Featured quotes from the CNN Health article include…
It began in 2006, with a bad dream.
“He woke up in the middle of the night and started screaming and told everyone to run out of the house,” said Chris Dronett, Shane Dronett’s wife. “He thought that someone was blowing up our house. It was very frightening.”
Chris tried to dismiss the incident as isolated, except that two weeks later, there was another outburst, then another, until they were an almost-nightly occurrence. And as Shane’s fear and paranoia began overwhelming him, so did episodes of confusion and rage that sometimes turned violent.
Dronett’s behavior began to oppose who he was considered to be for his entire life…
The Dronetts’ daughter recalled an incident at a local burger joint: “He was ordering, and he got mad at (an employee) and just punched him in the face,” said 16-year-old Hayley Dronett.
“He thought the guy was shaking the ice weird or something, and he took him down in the restaurant,” added Chris.
Dronett was one who rejected the idea of leaving a game while concussed…
“There were times when he’d be slow getting up and kind of try to shake it off and get back in there,” said Chris. “He would have headaches and he would say ‘I wish someone would split my head open with an ax and relieve the pressure,’ but it wasn’t even an option to come out (of the game).”
And soon enough, Dronett had completely lost connection with himself…
Shane was supposed to pick up his family at the airport but never showed up. The next morning, Chris encountered her husband in the hallway of their home, brandishing a gun.
“I saw the gun, and I ran out the front door,” said Chris. “He had gone into the kitchen, and as soon as I put my hand on the front door, I heard it.”
What Chris had heard was the firing of the gun that killed Shane when he turned the gun on himself.
Towards the end of the article, Chris, Shane’s wife, gives advice to the younger NFL players, specifically those who have openly rejected the latest NFL policies that address concussions…
“I know a lot of the players are against that, but they’re young and they haven’t seen what I’ve seen,” said Chris.
[...] I feel like they’re making their statements without being educated.”
Tomorrow at 7:30AM (ET), CNN News will be covering the story of Shane Dronett in further detail. I encourage everyone to take the time to either view, or record, this segment.