Jonathan Martin will donate his brain to CTE Research

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NYT > Sports

What happened after you left the NFL in 2015?

I went back to school to graduate. I spent the next few years as an intern in various positions in real estate and finance. But building and maintaining relationships has really been a challenge when dealing with a chronic problem like depression or potentially CTE. I’d say that’s really been my biggest frustration in the last six years, this inability to build a second career because I’ve tried.

Do you follow soccer

I still enjoy the game. My relationship with football has been positive for me overall. It put me in a great school, paid for my education, and had the opportunity to play professionally, be a high draft pick and the perks that come with it. Then of course there were some consequences and complications while I was playing. The way I see it, I’ve played soccer so hopefully my kids don’t have to.

What was your reaction when you saw Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles?

It felt pretty strong to see people who are up to their game and sport, especially people of color.

I think people don’t know that it’s still just a 22, 23, 24 year old who comes to work and happens to be a sports freak who is great at what he does. And they have the same thoughts, feelings and emotions as every fan, that puts a lot of strain on your psyche. For example, giving up two sacks on “Monday Night Football” and putting a heavy strain on mental health at the age of 24.

Why do you think you could have CTE?

I don’t know I have CTE, but I have my suspicions. I know I have a traumatic brain injury.

I think more people than people think will privately admit treating some of the symptoms of CTE, but few will publicly acknowledge it, partly out of stigma and partly just because they don’t want to deal with the attention. But most guys, while playing, are aware that this is not very good for them. It’s probably not good for your brain.

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