Junior Seau, Tom McHale honored on Concussion Legacy Foundation shoe to End CTE for NFL’s My Cause My Cleats Campaign
NFL analyst Ross Tucker designed custom shoes to spotlight urgent need for CTE research, player support
(Boston) – For the first time, The Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) will be featured as a selected charitable organization for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign. Westwood One NFL analyst and former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker chose CLF as his charitable organization, designing a custom shoe featuring images of brains ravaged by CTE and likenesses of former NFL players Junior Seau and Tom McHale, who were both posthumously diagnosed with CTE.
“As a former football player, CTE is an issue close to my heart,” said Tucker, who played seven seasons in the NFL. “I’ve known CLF co-founder Dr. Chris Nowinski since I had to block him in college and watching what he and his team are doing to advance CTE research, make the game safer, and help former players and their families who are struggling is inspiring.”
Tucker has been a longtime advocate for CTE awareness, pledging to donate his brain to CLF for research in 2012. CLF is a founding collaborator in the Boston University CTE Center and the world-leading VA-Boston University-CLF Brain Bank, which has studied the brains of more than 350 deceased NFL players.
On one shoe, Tucker has chosen to honor his former opponent Junior Seau, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who died by suicide in 2013 at age 43. Seau’s daughter Sydney gave the family's blessing to his depiction.
“I vividly remember playing against Junior Seau in 2003 and specifically remember a couple of collisions with Junior in that game,” Tucker said. “Now that I know what they can do to a football player’s brain and how CTE can impact a family, I’m committed to doing my part to help the Concussion Legacy Foundation team learn how to diagnose and treat this terrible disease.”
Tucker’s other shoe honors Tom McHale, who, like Tucker, was an All-Ivy League offensive lineman before playing nine years in the NFL. Tucker first learned about CTE when McHale died in 2008 at the age of 45 and became the sixth NFL player diagnosed with CTE. An actual picture of Tom McHale’s damaged brain with stage 3 CTE is depicted on the front of both shoes.
“Ross Tucker was a warrior on the football field, and we are honored that he is partnering with the Concussion Legacy Foundation to go to war again, only this time to End CTE,” said Chris Nowinski, PhD, CLF CEO and co-founder and a former All-Ivy League defensive tackle at Harvard University. “More cases of CTE have been diagnosed in NFL players than in any other population, and we hope more football players recognize the opportunity we have to save the lives of our football family members through supporting CTE research.”
Tucker will join dozens of other analysts and announcers in wearing custom tennis shoes and hundreds of NFL players in wearing custom cleats representing the charitable cause of their choice during all Week 13 games.
Current and former football players can join Tucker in the fight to End CTE by signing up for the CLF Research Registry. Those who are interested can learn more about pledging their brain or participating in clinical research studies at PledgeMyBrain.org.
About the Concussion Legacy Foundation:
The Concussion Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It was founded by Robert Cantu, MD, and Chris Nowinski, PhD to support athletes, Veterans, and all affected by concussions and CTE; achieve smarter sports and safer athletes through education and innovation; and to End CTE through prevention and research. For more information, please visit ConcussionFoundation.org.
About Ross Tucker: Ross Tucker played seven years in the NFL as an offensive lineman for the Washington Football Team, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and New England Patriots. Today, he is a game analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles, CBS Sports, and Westwood One. He is the co-founder of the Ross Tucker Podcast Network including the flagship Ross Tucker Football Podcast and the founder and CEO of GoBigRecruiting.com.