By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Ken Stabler, a former Oakland Raiders quarterback, is believed to have suffered from CTE, the degenerative brain disease that’s been founded in a lot of dead athletes, as of late. A doctor, who examined the brain, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines the news.
Stabler passed away last July 8th at the age of 69 after complications from colon cancer. Following his death, his brain and spinal cord were donated to Boston University’s CTE Center to be looked at.
CTE, which was first diagnosed by Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was the key figure in the movie ‘Concussion,’ is found in athletes, who have suffered from repeated blows to the head. It’s only been known to be found after an examination of the tissue in the brain.
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BU’s professor of neurology and pathology, Dr. Ann McKee, was the one that examined Stabler’s brain. She said the was clear that he had Stage 3 CTE in his brain and that the disease was spread through the brain.
“He had very substantial lesions. They were widespread. They were very classic. There was no question about the diagnosis,” McKee told Outside the Lines in an interview broadcast Wednesday. “And in some parts of the brain, they were very well established, meaning that he’d had it probably for quite some time.”
Kim Bush, his partner, said that he struggled with his brain in the final days of his life. She also added that he showed cognitive impairment and had headaches in his 60s.
Stabler also suffered from knee and back injuries, which came from the punishment that he went through as an NFL player.
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“We talked at length about head injury,” she said to OTL. “And he … he was certain that what he was suffering was the consequences of playing football. I asked him point-blank, ‘What are your feelings about that in terms of donating your brain for research and the science?’ And that’s the night he told me, ‘Yeah, I definitely should do that, that’s the right thing for me to do.’”
Stabler is the latest former NFL player to be diagnosed with this disease. Recently, former player and broadcaster Frank Gifford suffered from it.
Before these two, the most notable player was Junior Seau, who committed suicide so that his brain can be tested.
“Commonly when we see that amount of involvement … we are dealing with a person who has substantial memory problems. And that’s exactly what he had,” McKee told OTL. “… He’s a quarterback, but we’ve found CTE now in every single football position. He played for a very long time. And, you know, that’s something that is a red flag for us because, in all our studies, we’re finding that CTE risk is really associated with the duration of playing football.
“He played for 28 years. He began at the age of 9. He played a very long time in the NFL. So it’s not really a surprise that he might have developed this disease.”
Lately, a lot of young players are retiring because they do not want to suffer from the life-long problems that playing football can give them down the road. Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is reportedly retired.
In the past two off-seasons, several players have retired at or before 30-years-old. With several players donating their brains for research after their death, Bush said she’s hoping that others will do the same.
“Changes have to be made so that these guys are not forfeiting their brains — literally, their brains,” Bush told OTL. “And the impact, the damage runs across their whole life, from depression to anxiety to, my gosh, some of the guys have committed suicide out of desperation. “… I just think that there would have been some peace in him knowing what was going on. He would want this science to change this horrible thing that’s happening to so many players and find a way to make the game safer and better.”
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