Union Under Fire From Ditka

Mounting evidence of brain injuries caused by football drives debate
By Jesse Andrews,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2007 4:38 AM CDT
Union Under Fire From Ditka
Former Chicago Bears player and head coach Mike Ditka gestures as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2007, before the House subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on the NFL's system for compensating retired players. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)   (Associated Press)

Mike Ditka, the celebrated NFL coach who once helped subvert the 1987 players' union strike, has recently added his voice to a growing chorus of players and coaches concerned that the union is not doing enough for its retired players. The discussion is spurred by ongoing revelations of the long-term havoc a decade of football wreaks on players' brains.

Examples include the suicide of former Eagles safety Andre Waters, whose brain at 44 resembled an 85-year-old's with mild Alzheimer's, and Hall-of-Fame center Mike Webster, who died homeless in 2002. One of his players accused Ditka of an about-face: "Mike was not one who gave a damn about the players or their injuries when he was coaching." (More NFL stories.)

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