Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp says he is experiencing memory loss and will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after his death.
The 44-year-old Sapp revealed his intentions on The Players' Tribune on Tuesday. He said he wants football to "be better when I left than when I got into it."
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers' star defensive tackle is well aware of the history of concussions and developing symptoms of his own shook him.
"I've also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career," Sapp wrote. "My memory ain't what it used to be. And yeah, it's scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend's house I've been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg.
"So when it comes to concussions, CTE and how we can make our game safer for future generations, I wanted to put my two cents in -- to help leave the game better off than it was when I started playing."
Sapp played 13 NFL seasons -- nine with the Bucs and four with the Oakland Raiders -- and endured thousands of hits to the head during a career in which he appeared in seven Pro Bowls. He retired following the 2007 season.
Sapp said his memory issues have led him to use phone alerts to remind him of simple tasks.
"We're playing in a macho league and we're talking about Hall of Famers now who are immortalized forever, made busts and everything. Legends of the game," Sapp said. "There's no way any of us wanna really admit that we can't remember how to get home, or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids to the school, or whatever it may be.
"You try to (say) 'all right, I'm gonna get a little more sleep, maybe it's something I did last night, maybe something I drank,' or whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it's not that it's my brain. That I'm not deteriorating right before my own eyes.
"It's the most frightening feeling, but it's also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could've found with my eyes closed, in the dead of night, half asleep."
Sapp accumulated 96 1/2 career sacks in 198 regular-season games. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999.