CTE was brought to the forefront by Dr. Bennet Omalu, portrayed in the film Concussion. The degenerative disorder is caused by chronic head trauma, commonly found in professional football players, in addition to wrestlers and hockey players. The disease can result in dementia, aggression, depression, and more. Over two dozen former football players were found to suffer from CTE.
Turley, who has been diagnosed with CTE, ended his football career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007. He suffered neurological damage and began battling bouts of vertigo as a rookie. It wasn’t until a year following his retirement that Turley received treatment, after being taken to a hospital for passing out in public.
When treating ailment, doctors prescribe pills that can do more help than damage, in that athletes become susceptible to addiction, noted Turley. Since 2014, he’s shunned all other medications in favor or marijuana, and credits a particular strain with aiding his depression and anxiety.
“If cannabis is implemented and [the NFL] can lead the science on this, they can resolve this brain injury situation in a big way,” he said.
Now a resident of California (where the use of medical marijuana is legal), Turley co-founded the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition to help spread the word on weed’s benefits.
According to a study by the American Academy of Neurology, “the risks and benefits of medical marijuana should be weighed carefully,” though it was proven to reduce painful spasms, urinary disorders, and neurological disorders like Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.