The Mike Adamle Project: Rise Above

A former NFL running back, Mike Adamle spent nearly 40 years on-air reporting, anchoring, and hosting sportscasts. Adamle quietly retired in 2016 after developing cognitive impairment that his doctors eventually diagnosed as probable CTE. Adamle took his diagnosis public with the goal of inspiring others to not give in to CTE, but rather to live their best life with the disease. 

With his wife Kim, they launched The Mike Adamle Project: Rise Above as a program of the Concussion Legacy Foundation to provide patients and families living with symptoms of CTE with tools, resources, a supportive community, and hope. 

Why we're here: from Kim Adamle, Executive Director of The Mike Adamle Project: Rise Above

“If I have this, then I want to be the one to show others how to LIVE with it” were the first words from Mike when his neurologist told him his epilepsy and cognitive degeneration were probably due to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  The doctor did not have much advice to share with us on how to cope with CTE - the most he could advise was 1,000mcg of B12 daily, a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, and to work as long as possible - to keep learning and stay active. 

There is no cure yet for CTE, so our quest became: How do you live with CTE?  How do you stay alive and experience a life of quality?  Mike has always lived his life 110% all heart and all-out, so we approached this challenge with the same vigor.  Through many heart-wrenching, tearful, gut-honest conversations, Mike distilled the essence of his goals for his life fighting CTE: to live with Dignity, Optimism, Energy and Excitement, Contribution and Purpose, and most of all - to give Hope to others.

Awareness of CTE is just emerging, and doctors and researchers are working to discover treatments.  But for the many who are affected right now, we need to share our journeys, our experience, and offer support to one another.  We do not have the time or luxury of waiting; we need to take action now for the sake of those afflicted with CTE and traumatic brain injury (TBI), and for their families and spouses, who are often the care partners. 

CTE/TBI is pervasive, so we knew our life plan had to be comprehensive and multi-faceted. We targeted these primary life areas:

  • Medical
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Learning and Cognition
  • Social and Community
  • Spiritual

From these areas we started drawing big concept maps, asking what resources we already had - who were our “teams”?  You know the saying, “it takes a village”?  Dealing with CTE requires teams - many, many teams.  Drawing up our teams in each of the above areas helped us organize and identify people, resources, and activities to support Mike’s functioning.

After establishing our support teams, we researched what to do. Did you know our brains continue to grow connections throughout our lives?  Our goal was to do all we could to promote overall brain health as well as try to support neurogenesis (the scientific term for new brain cell growth) to offset the brain deterioration from CTE.  We don’t know if we can stop or slow the brain degeneration yet, but we can do things to improve the functioning of the brain we have and strengthen the trillions of connections between our brain cells. Because we were determined to live our best life for as long as we could, we knew that various therapies once or twice a week would not be enough: Mike’s therapies had to be constant and consistent, so we incorporated everything we learned into our daily routines.  Activities promoting brain health became our lifestyle, and every activity became an opportunity for growth.

This journey is improved by a strong support team. Those “care partner(s)”, whether they be a spouse, children, or other family or friends, necessitates a strong commitment and healthy working relationship.

The content you read from Mike and me as part of Rise Above is designed to give you the inside scoop on how we have approached our life since that moment Mike was diagnosed with probable CTE. We have heard from many families going through experiences all too similar to ours. We want to give you tools, resources, a supportive community, and hope. As you read and watch all that Project Rise has to offer, also incorporate the expert information and strategies from CLF’s CTE Resources pages so that your resources toolbox is as full as it could possibly be. We’re here for you, and we will get through this together. If you have questions for me or Mike, email hello@mikeadamle.org.

Here are some things we implemented in our Brain Health Lifestyle Plan.

The importance of diet, exercise and cognitive stimulation

Socialization: the importance of being around people

 

Leading to a Safer Future

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