CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ten-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas said he's already experiencing memory loss, in an interview with Graham Bensinger.
Thomas, 32, said he's already having short-term memory loss and expects more in the future.
"I'm already seeing memory loss, and maybe that's just because of my old age or football. It's hard to tell," said Thomas on "In Depth with Graham Bensinger." "I mean, there's no double-blind studies when it comes to people's life. It's just a part, I think, of sometimes getting older. And it's hard to tell it's because of football or because you're 32 and you're not 21 anymore and you have a lot of stuff going on in your life."
Thomas said this includes remembering stuff that's happened recently or walking into a grocery store and not remembering what you're in the store for.
"Ha, I can't remember what I needed to get, just little stuff like that," said Thomas. "I think if you let it really bug you I think it can make you really depressed."
The offensive lineman has been with the Cleveland Browns since getting drafted in 2007 as the third overall pick. He hasn't missed a snap.
Thomas said he tries to be "relatively good-natured" about the memory loss.
"What does concern you the most?" asked Bensinger.
"I think when you look at some of the really serious side-effects and diseases that have come from the brain injuries that you receive from playing football. You look at guys with significant Alzheimer's and dementia and the mood swings and the suicides that unfortunately NFL players have been faced with; depression, Lou Gehrig's disease, these are all things that have come that have kind of been linked to the brain damage from football and those are obviously extremely scary and frightening things. I think from my perspective I can't do anything about it. This is the profession that I have already chosen and most of the damage has probably been done already so what are the things that I can do to minimize my chances of having those negative effects down the line and then do everything I possibly can and then I just can't worry about it. I just have to accept it, but I do hope that medicine continues to improve."
A large number of former NFL players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. The diagnosis only comes after death. However, some players have complained of CTE symptoms including memory loss.
"In Depth with Graham Bensinger" airs Saturday, April 29 from 11:35 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. on WOIO. It will also air Sunday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. on WUAB.