Rob Gronkowski talked to Jim Rome Wednesday night, and it was pretty typical Gronk -- he talked about his party bus, about what Tom Brady yells after a TD, about ladies, and he spiked a pinata. You know -- Gronk stuff. However, he said one thing that was kinda troubling:
Gronk on concussions: http://t.co/EcXNINNUHw pic.twitter.com/KNUT76pvW9— Lindsey Adler (@Lahlahlindsey) April 2, 2015
Gronk basically says that the late-life symptoms of brain diseases caused by repeated head injuries are more or less the same as when he has a wild night and drinks too much.
This is a frighteningly inaccurate comparison. It's true that memory loss is a common symptom of both drinking too much and CTE. But CTE has a variety of other symptoms. CTE leads to dementia. CTE leads to depression. CTE turns people into confused, angry husks of their former selves who hate being alive. CTE makes people kill themselves.
(Of course, drinking isn't great for your brain either -- longterm heavy alcohol use can also lead to dementia. And there's also a correlation between longterm alcohol abuse and depression, although nobody can say for sure which causes which. But Gronkowski isn't comparing CTE to severe alcoholism -- he's comparing it to his Tuesday night, which we imagine was pretty fun.)
Rob Gronkowski can do whatever he wants with his body, and we would never think of stopping him. But this line of thinking -- that severe late-life depression is the same as being a fun, young drunk -- that's wildly dangerous, because there are people who can hear that who are not Rob Gronkowski, and those people might not realize that severe longterm depression is not as fun as getting drunk.