Dave Mirra died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February. According to a diagnosis revealed by his wife, the 41-year-old Mirra was suffering from the effects of CTE when he shot himself.
Lauren Mirra revealed the diagnosis to ESPN The Magazine, and spoke about Mirra’s worsening mental and physical condition in the time leading up to his suicide. It’s a story that’s become all too familiar:
When did you first notice his behavior change?
He was always a really intense person. His intensity just started to increase. For sure last summer, I started to notice changes in his mood. And then it quickly started to get worse. The last couple months before he died were really intense, and then, of course, the last couple weeks were hard. We didn’t know what we were dealing with.
Was he experiencing other symptoms?
Fatigue, definitely, both physically and emotionally. And forgetfulness, moodiness. He would repeat conversations and topics to the point where it was obvious to the person he was talking to but not to him. He would dwell on a subject and not want to move on from it.
A neuropathologist tells ESPN that Mirra’s brain was indistinguishable from CTE-affected brains of former football and hockey players. Lauren goes even deeper into the specifics of what her husband was dealing with, and I recommend reading the entire interview. It’s a tough read, but an important reminder of the potential stakes of contact sports.