Tony Dorsett On CTE: I Didn't Know "The End Was Going To Be Like This"

In 2013, NFL hall of famer Tony Dorsett was among the first few living football players to be diagnosed with signs of the chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that manifests as dementia and depression. It's gotten worse—by definition, it'll get worse until he dies—and in a radio interview, the… » 2/09/15 3:50pm 2/09/15 3:50pm

Football Player Who Was Convinced He Had CTE Found To Have CTE

The really heartbreaking thing about today's Associated Press profile of former college linebacker Michael Keck, who died last year at age 25 from unrelated causes, is just how damned banal it is. Normal kid plays football. Normal kid suffers head injuries. Normal kid turns violent and depressed and forgetful, dies… » 8/26/14 9:08am 8/26/14 9:08am

Chart: How Does Weight Affect The Lifespans Of Pro Football Players?

Over on the Reddit sub r/dataisbeautiful, users have been playing around with an interesting dataset (pulled from Pro Football Reference) that looks at the lifespan of pro players from the late 19th-century to present. The chart above, by user "zipcitytrucker" breaks down the age of death by playing weight, finding… » 11/26/13 12:28pm 11/26/13 12:28pm

Is The New CTE Test For Football Players A Good One?

November 6th was a landmark day in the NFL's ongoing head trauma debacle. We learned that Tony Dorsett, the 59-year-old Hall of Fame running back who'd recently been battling depression and memory problems, had been diagnosed with early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Not long after the story… » 11/14/13 3:40pm 11/14/13 3:40pm

Tony Dorsett Is One Of The First Living Players To Show Signs Of CTE

We diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the neurological disease thought to be ravaging former NFL players, at autopsy. But now, for the first time, we're beginning to find ways to discover it in players before they're dead. Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett is one of the first to be tested and found to have the… » 11/07/13 12:22pm 11/07/13 12:22pm

The Hidden Victims Of The NFL's Concussion Crisis

Late last fall, as the NFL playoff picture began to take shape, I was summoned to the psychiatric ward of my hospital. As an HIV specialist, I routinely encounter patients with mental health issues who have trouble taking their medications, but when I read the page requesting my consultation, I noticed something… » 10/10/13 1:32pm 10/10/13 1:32pm

Brain Damage May Have Played Role In Death Of Former Quarterback

In May, former Division II football star and Ravens quarterback Cullen Finnerty was found dead in the Michigan woods near his family's fishing cottage. At the time, Finnerty's cause of death was not apparent, but an autopsy has revealed that Finnerty died of pneumonia, and that chronic brain damage known as Chronic… » 8/08/13 1:45pm 8/08/13 1:45pm

Report: David Chao Steered Junior Seau's Brain To NFL's Chosen Brain…

The competition to study the brains of former NFL players is ugly; almost as ugly as the league's decades of denying that concussions lead to long-term health issues. But the fight over the late Junior Seau took it to a whole new level—and a key player was controversial Chargers doctor David Chao, who stepped in to… » 4/29/13 2:35pm 4/29/13 2:35pm

New Study Reveals That CTE May Be Detectable In Living Patients

A new study, published by researchers at UCLA in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, shows evidence that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) can be detected in living patients via positron emission tomography (PET) scans. CTE is a particular type of brain damage that causes depression, memory loss, and… » 1/22/13 3:20pm 1/22/13 3:20pm

My 100 Concussions: Notes From A Terrified CTE Study Participant

Former football player and pro wrestler Chris Nowinski recently set up a massive research project with Boston University to examine the long-term effects of concussion damage on the human brain. Anyone can volunteer to have his or her brain posthumously donated to the study, and one anonymous Deadspin reader has… » 12/12/12 10:15am 12/12/12 10:15am

Happy NFL Opening Day! The CDC Says Football Players Are Three Times…

Let no one say the Centers for Disease Control's PR department doesn't have a wicked sense of timing. They chose today, the day of the NFL Kickoff 2012 presented by Bud Light, to release a study confirming that no, football is not good for you, and yes, it will leave your brain a quivering porous mass that will make… » 9/05/12 2:45pm 9/05/12 2:45pm

Former NFL Lineman Ralph Wenzel Dies From "Complications Of Dementia"

Ralph Wenzel played guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers over the course of seven NFL seasons from 1966 to 1973. At the age of 52, some twenty years after his career ended, he began experiencing "significant memory lapses and other cognitive problems." It was the opinion of his wife, Eleanor… » 6/23/12 2:30pm 6/23/12 2:30pm

Study Of Dead Football Player's Brain Is Even More Depressing Than Usual

A year ago, just after former NFL player Lew Carpenter passed away at the age of 78, his family decided to donate his brain to a team of researchers studying chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease often found in athletes who have suffered repeated head injuries. » 12/09/11 1:40pm 12/09/11 1:40pm