January 1, 2012

We are continuing our discussion of Michael Current’s recent suicide. A professional football player during the ’60s and ’70s, Current often complained of headaches and other symptoms consistent with a brain injury. He was in the middle of a serious criminal matter in Oregon when he died earlier this month, but friends and family have not dismissed the idea that his brain injury contributed to his death.

We often write about the effect of repeated blows to the head and multiple concussions. Football players, especially professional football players, sustain an untold number of concussions over the course of their careers, and the results can be devastating. Many players and their families believe the NFL knew about the risks but kept the information — and the push for better protection — from the teams.

The suicide of another player, Dave Duerson, in 2011 brought the issue to national attention. He suffered from depression and memory loss. Before he shot himself, Duerson specifically asked his family to order tests for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition associated with repeated brain injuries.

His family donated his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The center is focused on addressing the “concussion crisis” in amateur and professional sports; to date, researchers have identified CTE in 20 deceased football players. Even the NFL is supporting the center — a dramatic switch from the league’s long-time denial that there was such a problem.

Just a year after Duerson’s death, the center announced that his brain did, indeed, show advanced evidence of CTE.

Source: HULIQ.com, “NFL player Michael Current kills self as Duerson,” Dave Masko, Jan. 20, 2012


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