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Kathie Lee Gifford and Cody Gifford Advocate for CTE Awareness Through Documentary Support

Kathie Lee Gifford, widow of NFL legend Frank Gifford, and their son Cody are lending their support to the commercial release of the documentary “Requiem for a Running Back.”

The film delves into the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease that contributed to Frank Gifford’s passing in 2015.

Cody acknowledges the NFL’s profound impact on his father’s life, stating, “The NFL gave my father a life.”

Despite the opportunities it provided, Cody highlights the inherent dangers associated with the sport, shedding light on the risks athletes face, particularly about CTE.

Frank Gifford, a legendary New York Giants star and sports broadcaster, displayed toughness on the field and versatility in the broadcast booth.

However, in the years leading to his death, breaks in his memory became apparent, raising concerns about the toll of repeated head trauma.

Cody’s Emotional Moment Watching the Documentary

Cody recalls watching “Requiem for a Running Back” and experiencing a profound connection to the struggles faced by fellow football star Lewis Carpenter, who also suffered from CTE. The documentary prompted Cody to seek ways to raise awareness and support the film’s message.

Taking proactive steps, Cody funded the first-ever commercial release of the documentary, making it accessible on platforms like Amazon, Google YouTube, and Apple iTunes as of December 1.

The aim is to reach a wider audience and educate more athletes and their families about the risks associated with CTE.

In August, Boston University’s CTE Center released alarming study results, examining the brains of 152 young athletes exposed to repetitive head impacts.

More than 41% showed neuropathological evidence of CTE, emphasizing the heightened risk for those engaging in contact sports.

Kathie Lee Gifford and Cody Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford and Cody Gifford

CTE’s progressive degenerative nature is associated with various cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

Kathie Lee Gifford reflects on the emotional impact of seeing Frank’s brain scan, revealing stage 4 CTE on a scale of 1 to 4.

Damage to the hippocampus, crucial for short-term memory, underscores the cumulative effect of lifetime head trauma. The experience has fueled her commitment to CTE awareness.

While the NFL did not respond to requests for comment, the Giffords remain dedicated to sharing their knowledge about CTE.

Cody, having experienced football firsthand, recognizes the challenge of walking away from a sport deeply ingrained in one’s life. Both mother and son aim to emphasize the importance of prevention and treatment.

Cody, who briefly followed in his father’s football footsteps, acknowledges the intoxicating allure of the sport.

Despite a “lackluster career” due to an ankle injury, he emphasizes the difficulty of distancing oneself from a lifelong love for football. The experience has heightened his awareness of the risks involved.

Kathie Lee and Cody express their commitment to sharing information about CTE, hoping to contribute to prevention and treatment efforts.

They believe that Frank Gifford, known for his concern for people’s well-being, would have cared deeply about raising awareness regarding the risks associated with football and head trauma.

The Giffords’ advocacy for CTE awareness through their support of “Requiem for a Running Back” reflects a broader call to action within the sports community.

As the documentary becomes more widely accessible, the hope is that it sparks conversations, drives awareness, and contributes to efforts aimed at safeguarding the health of athletes in contact sports.

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