January 1, 2012

Another retired NFL player’s life has ended tragically. State police in Polk County, Oregon report that Michael Current’s body was found last week in a national park. The 66-year-old reportedly shot himself in the head. Officials say Current had complained of symptoms related to traumatic brain injury for some time.

At six-foot-five and 274 pounds, Current was an offensive lineman with several teams through 13 seasons, from 1967 to 1979. Current reported that his bell had been rung many times during his college and professional football days. According to colleagues, he complained of headaches and “other problems with his head” caused by the multiple concussions.

Current had other problems at the time of his death. In November, he was charged with five counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of luring a minor. Prosecutors said the three victims were all 14 or younger.

Each of the assault charges carries a minimum sentence of six years and three months; for Current, a conviction would have meant more than 30 years in prison. He was due at his plea hearing the day after he died.

For the past year at least, the NFL has had to answer a lot of questions about players’ risk of traumatic brain injury and permanent brain damage. Multiple lawsuits claim NFL management knew of the risks of repeated concussions and deliberately kept the information from players.

The description of a concussion as “having your bell rung” minimizes the true nature of the injury. Repeated concussions can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a dementia-like condition characterized by mood swings, memory loss and aggression, among other symptoms.

Former NFL player Dave Duerson complained of symptoms consistent with CTE before his suicide last year. We’ll talk about this more in our next post.

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


Categories: Blog