NFL, CTE and domestic violence

Could the degenerative disease cause violence?


Cassidy Disrud, Editor

City Chiefs, ended his career one February night in 2018 when an incident occurred with Abigail Ottinger, 19, inside The Metropolitan, a hotel in downtown Cleveland. Ottinger told police Hunt assaulted her about 3:45 a.m. outside a hotel apartment.

This was just one more case of domestic violence involving an NFL player. Domestic violence in the NFL is not new; it is the third most common arrest in the career and there have been 101 instances since 2000 according to

In order to try to understand why this is so common in the NFL, I took a biological psychology approach and looked at possible correlations to this violent behavior. hypothesis was that repeated concussions that lead to the brain degenerative disease CTE could have a have a correlation with domestic violence.

Linebacker and running back positions make up 30 percent of all domestic violence arrests. I was curious about whether these positions lined up with the most impacted position in the game. To get more information on football and concussions I went to Brent Swaggert, the Saint Francis High School Varsity football coach.

“All players are susceptible of getting concussions but some positions are more likely than others due to the impact and velocity of the tackle.” Swaggert said. “Players that are ball handlers are the most likely to get concussions some of these positions for an example include running-back, linebackers, wide-receivers, fullbackers and quarterbacks.”

As a coach he finds it is alarming to hear about the studies coming out with CTE and head trauma.

“I am worried about what this will mean for future football players and other high trauma sports,” Swaggert said.

After hearing from Swaggert, it seemed possible that the positions of players could correlate with brain trauma. In order to see how brain trauma could lead to domestic violence I further investigated what affect CTE has on the brain, which included cognitive impairment.

After researching this topic I do believe there is a correlation between CTE and Domestic Violence; however, correlation does not necessarily mean causation. There is still a lot more research that needs to be done in order to investigate exactly what areas of the brain in particular this brain disease affects.

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