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Kathie Lee Gifford Raises Awareness About CTE in Football Players

Photo from Kathie Lee Gifford’s Instagram

Kathie Lee Gifford Raises Awareness About CTE in Football Players

By Movieguide® Contributor

Kathie Lee Gifford and son Cody are raising awareness about the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in football players with their new documentary, REQUIEM FOR A RUNNING BACK.

“Cody and I have the privilege of sharing this beautiful and powerful film about the dangers of traumatic brain injury,” Gifford captioned a clip from the documentary. “REQUIEM FOR A RUNNING BACK is an important warning for parents of young children considering tackle football or other contact sports.”

The documentary “tells the story of former football star Lewis Carpenter. Following Lewis’ death, his brain was donated to researchers, who determined he had an advanced form of CTE,” Fox News reported

It’s a topic close to Gifford and her son’s hearts. Husband and father Frank Gifford played in the NFL for years and sustained serious injuries to his brain during that time, leading to a CTE diagnosis that resulted in his death. 

In the clip, Gifford says, “When I found Frank that morning, I tried to resuscitate him. So did Cody. I think we should do what Jesus wants us to do, which is help people with it.”

Cody then asked, “Why do kids have to play contact football? Why can’t they just wait?”

They spoke more about the movie in an interview with PEOPLE. 

“The NFL gave my father a life,” Cody said. “But at the same time, there were dangers.”

He shared that, during one of their final nights together, Frank’s memory problems had gotten so bad that “in the span of one minute or two minutes…he had forgotten everything I had just said.”

“It was heartbreaking to look at it,” Gifford said of a scan of Frank’s brain, adding that his condition was at stage four on a scale of one to four, with four being the most severe. “We found damage to the hippocampus, which is the center for short-term memory…it’s the cumulative aggregate blows that you take over a lifetime.”

She and Cody are now dedicated to raising awareness about CTE in hopes that experts can start working toward prevention and treatment. 

“Nobody would care more about people and kids being hurt than Frank would have,” Gifford said.

REQUIEM FOR A RUNNING BACK is now available to stream on Amazon, Google YouTube and Apple iTunes.

Movieguide® previously reported on the Giffords:

Cassidy Gifford, the daughter of Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford, recently honored her father on the eighth anniversary of his death, sharing how he lives on through his grandchildren.

“8 years. And I’ve missed you every day but what a sweet gift of the Lord to give me so many bits of you in your grandson,” Cassidy said, sharing a throwback photo of her family from when she was a little girl.

Frank, an NFL and broadcasting legend, died in 2015 after being married to Kathie Lee since 1986, TODAY reported.

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