Valley NFL alumni searching for CTE cure

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NFL alumni are teaming up with TGEN and Aethlon Medical to study CTE. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) NFL alumni are teaming up with TGEN and Aethlon Medical to study CTE. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Concussions and CTE have questions swirling about the future of football. This spring, former NFL players are issuing a call to action.

“If we could diagnose CTE in living subjects, that would just be phenomenal,” said Solomon Wilcots, CBS Sports NFL analyst and six-year NFL veteran player. “That would open up an entire gateway to finding solutions and treatments to this very serious cause.”

Wilcots recently stopped by Arizona's Family studios with former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jamir Miller, a Valley native and former Minnesota Vikings tight end Steve Jordan and Aethlon Medical CEO James Joyce. 

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A recent study by Aethlon found a biomarker, talzone, is nine times higher in former NFL players than regular members of the public.

“I want to make sure that my colleagues who played, my former colleagues who played, guys who are playing now and guys who played in the future have some place to be,” said Miller, who is now president of the Valley’s NFL alumni chapter. “The locker room still exist in 2050.”

[RELATED: It's not concussions that cause CTE. It's repeated hits, a study finds]

Aethlon is teaming up with Valley-based TGEN for the new study. Jordan and company helped kick it off in March with the former players encouraging their peers to anonymously donate blood, saliva and urine.

“Our hope is to see this in lower levels in players that are younger,” said Jim Joyce, Aethlon Medical CEO. “Our goal is to advance a biomarker that can show an association with CTE, as a method to diagnose CTE, to monitor CTE, to monitor the progression of CTE.”

[READ MORE: It's not concussions that cause CTE. It's repeated hits, a study finds]

The study runs all spring and the hope is to enroll 200 former players. The NFL alumni are also hoping to pass down the game to the next generation.

“Where else can you send your kids to learn leadership skills,” said Wilcots. “To learn how to participate and fail and learn how to bounce back, learn how to come back from failure and still achieve great things. For many of us former players, it’s been a building block for success.”

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“When I look at football and what it’s done for me personally,” said Steve Jordan, a Valley native and former Vikings All-Pro tight end. “Being in the corporate world now we like to hire athletes because they tend to understand things outside the classroom.”

The study runs all spring. If you want to learn more log on to TGEN.org.

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