Former Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson told The Washington Post in a story published Tuesday that he cannot remember two of the seasons he played in the NFL and believes he is living with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Johnson told the newspaper that he suffers from mood swings, violent impulses and "demons" that he believes are signs of CTE, a neurodegenerative brain disorder that has been found in the brains of former NFL players after their deaths. The 38-year-old, who spent most of his professional career with the Kansas City Chiefs, said he has gone so far as to make highlight packages of his time in the NFL so he can remember his accomplishments — and share them with his 7-year-old daughter, Jaylen.
“If I can’t remember who I was, I’ve got YouTube; I’ve got music videos that I’m making for myself, so when I watch these things I can remember,” Johnson told The Post. “I’m trying to get these things in order so she knows who I am and what I came from.”
Johnson ran for 6,223 yards and 55 touchdowns in his NFL career, which also included brief stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins and ended in 2011. He was arrested multiple times on assault charges during his NFL career.
Earlier this year, after an autopsy confirmed that former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had CTE, Johnson wrote on Twitter that, "I know for certain I'm living with it."
A study released this summer found traces of CTE in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were donated for research. While CTE can only be confirmed through an autopsy, researchers said earlier this year that they had detected traces of the disease in the brain of former linebacker Fred McNeill while he was still alive, marking a potential breakthrough in the field.