- Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett among former players showing signs of CTE
Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett was recently diagnosed with having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after undergoing brain scans and clinical evaluations during the past three months at UCLA, according to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
In addition, Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall were diagnosed with having signs of CTE, which many believe is the result of constant blows to the head from football.
CTE is described as a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that strangles brain cells in areas that control memory, emotions and other functions. According to Outside the Lines, “autopsies of more than 50 ex-NFL players, including Hall of Famer Mike Webster and perennial All-Pro Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, found such tau concentrations.”
Dorsett said he was experiencing memory loss, depression and thoughts of suicide, which prompted him to seek testing.
Here is a portion of ESPN’s report:
The former Cowboys running back, now 59, said that when he took his Oct. 21 flight from Dallas to Los Angeles for testing, he repeatedly struggled to remember why he was aboard the plane and where he was going. Such episodes, he said, are commonplace when he travels.
Dorsett said he also gets lost when he drives his two youngest daughters, ages 15 and 10, to their soccer and volleyball games.
"I've got to take them to places that I've been going to for many, many, many years, and then I don't know how to get there," he said.
The 1976 Heisman Trophy winner and eighth all-time leading NFL rusher said he has trouble controlling his emotions and is prone to outbursts at his wife and daughters.
"It's painful, man, for my daughters to say they're scared of me." After a long pause, he tearfully reiterated, "It's painful."
There is currently no cure for CTE, but Dorsett was seeking answers to explain his current challenges.
Dorsett, Marshall and DeLamielleure are among the 4,500-plus plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL that was settled for $765 million. The plaintiffs argued the NFL had concealed a link between playing football and brain damage.
However, as part of the settlement that was reached, the league did not admit to misconduct.