Late Breaking News
Honor Roll of Athletes Who Left Brains to Further Neurologic Research
Some notable deceased athletes contributed their brains to further the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy said it has permission to release the following names of those who were diagnosed with CTE in this study. Those included:
- NFL Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, who died in 2011 from complications of dementia and was found to have both CTE and frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
- NFL Hall of Fame running back Ollie Matson, who died in 2011 from complications of dementia and was diagnosed with Stage IV CTE;
- Former NFL and CFL running back Cookie Gilchrist, who died in 2011 at age 75 from throat cancer and was diagnosed with Stage IV CTE;
- Ron Perryman, a former Boston College linebacker who died from respiratory failure associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 2011 at the age of 42 and was diagnosed with CTE-MND;
- Eric Pelly, a former high school football and rugby player diagnosed with multiple concussions who died at age 18 from complications resulting from a previous concussion and had Stage I CTE.
In addition, the BU CSTE obtained permission to release the brain images from an anonymous Marine veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who suffered multiple concussions in combat and in sports. He died in his 20s with Stage I CTE.
The VA CSTE Brain Bank, led by the recruiting efforts of former professional wrestler Chris Nowinski, now contains more than 135 brains, of which approximately 80% have shown evidence of CTE.
More than 600 living athletes have committed to donate their brain to the BU CSTE after death and are being followed longitudinally as part of the Longitudinal Examination to Gather Evidence of Neurodegenerative Disease (LEGEND) study. Participants in the LEGEND study take part in yearly telephone interviews as well as yearly online questionnaires. They also have the opportunity to provide a saliva sample for genetic testing. Both those with and without a history of concussions can participate in the LEGEND study.
“We appreciate the generosity and support of the athletes and their families involved in our research. This pathological research is a critical step as we continue to make advances toward our ultimate goal of an effective treatment for CTE,” said Nowinski, a co-author of the report and co-director of the CSTE.
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