Imagine receiving an expiration date on your life. being told that you only have two more years to live knowing that your fate is set, and there is not any way to go back. That is what it is like to be diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). ALS, or more widely known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, slowly destroying the body's ability to complete simple motor functions. Eventually, a person who is diagnosed with ALS passes due to fatalities such as choking on their saliva and forgetting how to breath. .
A CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that affects the mind, causing many changes in the wiring of the brain. The damage CTE's cause ultimately completely alter one's everyday life. There is not a cure for either of these diseases. Although a person of any age, sex, and lifestyle can be diagnosed with these diseases, it is more commonly seen amongst younger athletes who have experienced continuous head trauma and multiple concussions. Due to newer studies and more advanced technologies, research has suggested that improved rules should now be set in place to protect athletes from these horrific diseases as much as possible. Of course, these new rules have caused controversy and highly voiced opinions, but simply put, as long as the rules do not change the overall concept of the sport all while allowing the athlete's exposure to head trauma to decrease, these policies should be put into place.
ALS received the nickname of "Lou Gehrig's disease" by being named after a famous baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939 and died in 1941. He was one of the first famous athletes to bring the disease into light, especially after giving his "Luckiest Man On the Face of Earth" speech right before he discontinued his baseball career.