Old school NFL fans will remember the hard-nosed football that earned longtime Atlanta Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis, who spent 11 years with the Falcons, the nickname “Mr. Falcon.”
But what they may also recall is just how much more violent the rules allowed the game to be played with gear that was far less protective.
Which is why it should come as no surprise that he too suffered from of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE)—in its "most severe form."
This according to Boston University CTE Center Director Dr. Ann McKee who said Monday that—prior to his death at the age of 74 in 2017—Nobis' brain showed a "severe loss of neurons and large CTE lesions throughout the cerebral cortex."
Nobis' daughter,Devon Jackoniski, spoke of how her father felt about football in his later years: "He told me before he became very ill he would never turn his back on football or do anything different. But he would educate kids a little different in the game. There's something very wrong with slamming your head against a brick wall over and over and over again."
But she also had some less than fond memories noting that her father was "aggressive" and "intense,"and that his volatility was most obvious at home: "We were pretty uneasy growing up. Although my dad had just some beautiful moments of being a wonderful man, emotionally he was so unstable it was just hard to get close tohim."