The Fifth Estate of CBC aired a documentary on the “Greatest Football Team Ever” in Canada, not as a retrospective homage to the good times, rather as an unfolding mystery. The most peculiar thing about this very good documentary is that it was originally aired, not a year ago, not even two but in 2008. Much has been discovered about repetitive brain trauma since 2008 the video is haunting just to view it with “today’s” eyes.
They have been called the greatest football team in the history of the CFL — the Edmonton Eskimos of the 1970s and ’80s that won five consecutive Grey Cups. But, for some of the star players on that team, the years of triumph ended ingloriously in early deaths, from heart attack, suicide and misadventure. The tragedy of those early deaths was often compounded by alcohol or drug addictions, probably caused by another, less visible, killer. Recent research by neuroscientists now shows the link between on-the-field concussions and brain damage; a permanent injury that can lead to depression, suicide and severe aberrant behaviour. The damage is so profound, the researchers say, that post-mortem examinations of the brain tissue of five former professional football players can be compared only to the tissue found in the brain tissue of advanced Alzheimers cases.
Unfortunately I cannot embed the piece you can CLICK HERE to see it in full. You will get to hear from very important people who are not nearly as high-profile as those hailing from Boston; Dr. Julian Bailes, Garrett Webster, son of Mike Webster and Dr. Bennet Omalu.