A three-month UCLA study has revealed that NFL Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure as well as All Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a report from ESPN.
Researches told “Outside the Lines” they notified the players of their condition Monday. Dorsett has been open about his struggles with depression, memory loss and suicidal ideation, which caused him to seek further answers from doctors.
CTE is a degenerative brain condition caused by a build up of an abnormal protein that attacks the center of the brain which controls memory and emotional functions, as well as some ancillary processes. It’s believed the protein is created by a serious of concussions, which Dorsett explained through his inability to manage menial tasks.
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.”
The 11-year pro spent a decade in Dallas before playing his final year with the Denver Broncos. Over his career Dorsett amassed over 12,000 rushing yards, but couldn’t put his finger on how many times he could have been concussed over his career.
Joe DeLamielleure was able to offer a closer number, suggesting he suffered at least 100 concussions over his career and had many of the same symptoms as Dorsett.
On the day he received the news that he has signs of CTE, DeLamielleure told “Outside the Lines,” “I can guarantee you my CTE, my tau, came from hits, came from blows to the head.” He said he suffers from anxiety and chronic insomnia, and, like Dorsett, he recounted mood swings and suicidal thoughts.
The NFL has been open about the need to limit head-to-head collisions and put more stringent post-concussion policy in place, but there has been no indication of their plans to support retired players dealing with previously-unknown issues resulting from concussions.