Tony Dorsett, NFL Hall of Famer, Has Symptoms of CTE Brain Condition

Image: Tony Dorsett, NFL Hall of Famer, Has Symptoms of CTE Brain Condition

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 02:54 PM

By David Ogul

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Hall of Fame Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett has been diagnosed with signs of a degenerative brain condition and the former player said he is losing his memory.

According to a report by ESPN's Outside the Lines, Dorsett, 59, is one of three former All-Pros who have been diagnosed as possibly suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition scientists say is caused by head trauma and has links to dementia. Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure and Leonard Marshall were diagnosed with the same condition, ESPN reported.

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Dorsett, who spent 11 of his 12 years with the Cowboys and is the eighth leading rusher in NFL history with 12,739 career yards, told WFAN radio that he has suicidal thoughts and problems with his memory. He said his quality of life is decreasing everyday. He said his condition has gotten so bad that he once couldn't remember the route to get his children to a team practice.

"My memory is really, really getting bad, and it’s going down,” Dorsett said. “I take my daughters to school, I take my daughters to practices, and all of a sudden the one day comes up and I’m saying, 'Well, how do I get there?'"

ESPN reported that Dorsett, DeLamielleure, and Marshall were found to have symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy after undergoing brain scans and evaluations over three months at UCLA. A fourth former player also was tested, but his results are unavailable and his name is being withheld.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known by its acronym CTE, is typified by a buildup of an abnormal protein called tau that basically strangles brain cells in areas that control memory.

CTE has no known cure.

"It’s enlightening to know what I have, what I’m dealing with,” Dorsett told The Dallas Morning News. “Now it’s time to find out, how can we come back from it? I actually was told (by researchers) that it can be reversed. I was like, 'What?' They said, 'Yeah, it can be reversed, slowed down, stopped.' I’m like, 'Oh, OK, so we need to get on out of here and get on that program immediately.'"

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