September 25, 2008
NEW PATHOLOGY FINDINGS SHOW SIGNIFICANT BRAIN DEGENERATION IN PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES WITH HISTORY OF REPETITIVE CONCUSSIONS
Leaders from the newly formed Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), a collaboration between Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), will present new findings on the brain pathology of former NFL player John Grimsley who died accidently in February 2008, at age 45. Grimsley’s widow, Virginia, will discuss her husband’s life pre and post football, leading up to his untimely death.
The CSTE will establish a brain donation program of living active and retired athletes who wish to donate their brains upon death for scientists to examine the long-term effects of repetitive concussions. Ted Johnson, former player on the New England Patriots will announce that he intends to donate his brain for research to CSTE upon his death. Johnson has suffered from cognitive difficulties and depression since experiencing repetitive concussions playing in the NFL. Other athletes who are signing up for the brain donation program will be announced on September 25.
The scientific findings will show that Grimsley’s brain exhibited pronounced Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) associated with repetitive concussions. Grimsley is the fifth former NFL player diagnosed with CTE since 2002, all following untimely deaths.
CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in retired athletes with a history of repetitive concussions. It is clinically associated with the development of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, paranoid and aggressive behavior, depression, dementia and Parkinsonism
- Robert Cantu, MD, world-renowned neurosurgeon, concussion expert and clinical professor of neurosurgery at BUSM, co-founder of SLI
- Ann C. McKee, MD, associate professor of neurology and pathology at BUSM, and Director of the Neuropathology Core of the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center,
- SLI founder Chris Nowinski, a former Harvard football player and professional wrestler, author of Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis,
- Robert A. Stern, PhD, associate professor of neurology and Co-Director of the Boston University School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical and Research Program.
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