Rob Gronkowski appears to claim CTE is fixable

Scott McLaughlin
September 13, 2019 - 1:49 pm

Rob Gronkowski made news Thursday when, during an appearance on CBS News, he casually mentioned that he "probably had like 20 concussions in my life," including five that caused him to black out.

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The former Patriots tight end made more news Friday when he tweeted a follow-up on the discussion.

Chris Nowinski, CEO of Concussion Legacy Foundation and co-founder of Boston University's CTE Center, responded to Gronkowski saying he believes "any injury that you receive is fixable" by pointing out on Twitter that currently CTE cannot be fixed.

Gronkowski apparently disagrees.

"It is fixable," Gronkowski said in a tweet. "I fixed mine. There are plenty of methods in this world that allow the brain to recover from severe damage. That is also why I would allow my kid to play football."

Gronkowski partnered with CBDMedic in August to promote CBD as a recovery product and to advocate for the NFL and other leagues to allow players to use it, though it's unclear if that's what he was referring to as one of the "plenty of methods ... that allow the brain to recover from severe damage."

Nowinski responded shortly after Gronkowski's tweet, saying that while Gronkowski is right about brain plasticity (the brain's ability to change and adapt), there is still no fix or cure for neurodegenerative diseases like CTE and Alzheimer's. In fact, to date CTE can only be definitevly diagnosed after death, although progress has been made toward finding a way to diagnose it in living people.

It will be worth seeing if Gronkowski follows up on or clarifies his tweet at all. It's a bit unclear if Gronkowski believes that overcoming his head injuries and feeling good now means he won't have issues down the road, or if he truly believes he's cured CTE, which would obviously be a major medical breakthrough.