The NFL has been under heavy fire in recent years about the long term damage that repeated blows to the head can do to football players. Hall of Famer Frank Gifford is the latest former player to have been confirmed to have suffered these consequences.
Scientists are not absolutely certain how brain injuries work. They know that concussions and repeated blows to the head can cause lasting damage, but they just are not sure exactly how. This is a cause of growing concern in football, particularly in the NFL where rules have been changed in an attempt to lessen head impacts.
One thing that is known is that many former football players suffer later in life from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The symptoms of the disease are similar to Alzheimer's and it can only be diagnosed by performing an autopsy.
The Hall of Fame player and longtime football announcer Frank Gifford is the latest high-profile player to have been diagnosed with the disease as reported by ABC News in "Former NFL Player Frank Gifford Suffered From CTE, Says Family."
Many former players and their families have sued the NFL claiming that the league did not do enough to protect players from head injuries. The Gifford family, however, has decided not do that. Instead, they will work with the NFL's efforts to prevent future injuries.
For some estates that might not be an option. An executor normally has a legal obligation to pursue potential claims the estate might have. However, if the beneficiaries of the estate do not wish to pursue the claims, the executor is not committing an error by not pursuing the claims.
Reference: ABC News (Nov. 25, 2015) "Former NFL Player Frank Gifford Suffered From CTE, Says Family."