Haloti Ngata consulted a neurologist before deciding to play this year

AP

Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is heading into his 12th NFL season only after talking with a doctor about the risks of long-term brain damage.

Ngata told Justin Rogers of the Detroit News his agent helped him find a good neurologist who could tell him whether he’s showing any signs of brain damage from his many years in the trenches. The neurologist gave him a clean bill of health.

“I went and talked to a neurologist, wanted to make sure my head was good, all that,” Ngata said. “He said everything was pretty good, really good actually. I was like, ‘All right, I’m going to keep on playing.’ My wife was like, ‘I guess so.’ ”

Ngata had brain scans and psychological testing and said he felt more comfortable with the decision to keep playing after being told that his brain is in good shape.

“With all the things that going on with brain stuff throughout the league, you definitely keep an eye on it,” Ngata said. “You hear that stuff and you don’t want to have problems when you’re older. I want to be able to raise my kids and be able to play with them when they’re older and still be able to beat them in wrestling matches and stuff when they’re teenagers.”

The 33-year-old Ngata hasn’t decided whether to keep playing beyond 2017, but he’s heading into this season confident that it’s safe for him to do so.

24 responses to “Haloti Ngata consulted a neurologist before deciding to play this year

  1. I’m not sure there is a clear test for how much damage has been sustained. They seem to only be able to diagnose after death and the symptoms show up gradually for some after playing has stopped.

  2. Wife says “I guess so.” She’s not enthusiastic about it. I don’t blame her. If this guy was smart and invested/saved his money, they’re set for life, and he won’t be potentially seriously hurt on a weekly basis.

  3. Good that he takes what’s most important really seriously, his head and all the problems that come if it isn’t the same when you retire. Like the poster above said, the NFL really should implement testing from neurologists, I’d go one step further and say it should be deemed obligatory.

  4. His agent hooked him up with a guy who said he was pretty good. Cause that isn’t a conflicting interest. Last I had heard, CTE is not detectable until you are dead. Good luck to you man. You have more faith in people around you than I would have.

  5. I’m sure i’m just overthinking it as a generally paranoid person, and he did the right thing… but I don’t think your agent is the best person to help you “find a good neurologist” in this situation. when he only benefits if you decide to keep playing.

  6. Do not believe them Haloti. Some things cannot be diagnosed until autopsy. Your agent has an interest in you playing, do not forget that!

  7. Why does it feel like Ngata 35-36 years old? 33?! Seems like he’s been around much longer than that.

  8. They’ve actually come a long way in recent years, but it’s imperative that they do baseline testing from the beginning. My son’s school made all players conform. He only received one concussion, and was eventually cleared to continue playing, but only after returning to his baseline levels. A teammate however sustained a more serious concussion and was out for the final 4 games. When he came back for his junior season, he was told he could not play any more, because he was having too much trouble returning to the baseline. It was sad, but at least they caught it and prevented further damage. The problem with these older players is they don’t have a baseline to work with.

  9. If Ngata played and lived in MN he would be out of luck finding a neurologist there. Their services aren’t needed among the mindless.

  10. Hey, the Lions are going to be good next year and Ngata’s move was a smart one, but before you go trashing the minds of Minnesotans there Mr.dawoger (perhaps other than the Viking trolls above), please note that in the ranking of most educated states, MN is 8th and MI is 27th. It may be cold up here, but our minds are just fine thank you.

  11. One of my favorite alltime Ravens. There is no way of telling if he’ll have/already has CTE even with white matter test. He should walk away.

    His hit on Bennifer is legendary!

  12. if someone said to me, “heres $50 million for the next 7 years” hell yeah i would take severe brain damage. someone can manage your money and do all the house or lawn chores, then u can relax and enjoy your golden years.

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