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McDermott preaches player safety in wake of Aaron Hernandez/CTE news

Sean McDermott wouldn’t change a thing.
He concedes he wasn’t the best athlete or the best safety to come through William and Mary, but the Bills head coach has no regrets about playing the game he loves — not even the wake of the latest news surrounding chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the NFL.
It was reported Thursday that Boston University researchers found former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez had Stage III (out of IV) CTE, a degenerative brain disease that progresses over time.
The former NFL star, and convicted murderer, was 27 when he committed suicide in his cell.
On Friday, McDermott was asked if he talks to his players about the dangers of playing football and if he worries about the future of the game.


“It’s important that safety remains our No. 1 priority and we always stress the safety and playing with proper technique,” he said before heading out to practice. “That’s really a big part of our coaching, a big emphasis of our coaching. In fact with the first team meeting (we said): ‘Hey, your head is always up.’ I always talk about your chin being up because it brings everything up. Everything we do is focused on the safety of it and protecting the game that way.”
According to a 2012 Boston University study, CTE progresses in symptoms ranging from headaches and difficulty concentrating, to erratic and violent behavior. According to BU, Stage III symptoms include: “depression or mood swings, visuospatial difficulties, and aggression” and 75 percent of the people studied with Stage III CTE were considered “cognitively impaired.”
McDermott offered a playful response when pressed on his own health.


“My career wasn’t very good,” he said with a smile, when asked if he worries about his playing history. “I think about it. But I also know that I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. I had extremely great things to say about my career as a player. Like i said, I wasn’t very good. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.”
The Bills head coach couldn't resist the urge to crack another joke when asked if he’s ever suffered a concussion.
“You know, I’m not sure. I can’t remember,” McDermott said, chuckling.

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