Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett was one of four former NFL players recently diagnosed with early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, otherwise known as CTE, doctors told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
According to ESPN, Dorsett, fellow Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure, former All-Pro Leonard Marshall and an as-yet unidentified fourth former player have undergone brain scans and been evaluated by doctors at UCLA over the past three months. During the exams, the report said, doctors discovered a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that indicates CTE and constricts brain cells in areas that control memory and emotions, among other functions. The protein was also discovered in autopsies of former players Junior Seau and Mike Webster.
CTE, a condition scientists believe is brought on by repeated head trauma, has been linked to cases of depression and dementia, particularly cases involving former football players in recent years.
Dorsett appeared on ESPN’s “Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable” show Wednesday and confirmed the UCLA tests. The former Dallas Cowboys legend also admitted to problems with memory, emotional distress and thoughts of suicide.
“I’ve thought about crazy stuff, sort of like, ‘Why do I need to continue going through this?’ ” said Dorsett, who admitting to getting lost while driving to places he’s been to many times before. “I’m too smart of a person, I like to think, to take my life, but it’s crossed my mind.”
The 59-year old also said he boarded a flight to Los Angeles for the testing at UCLA, but had repeated difficulty remembering why he was onboard the plane during the flight, a common occurrence for him.
Dorsett said he’s prone to outbursts at his family members, including his wife, and has been diagnosed as clinically depressed.
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