Researchers believe they have identified the first case of CTE in a living patient.
Wednesday, news broke that researchers had, for the first time, identified CTE in a living person. Now, via a CNN segment with Dr. Bennet Omalu, who led the study, the player’s name has been released.
Omalu told listeners that the player described in the report is Fred McNeill, who starred at UCLA before playing for the Minnesota Vikings from 1974 until 1985.
McNeill had a brain scan back in 2012 and Omalu determined that a “signature protein” of CTE called tau was found in a number of spots. When his brain was autopsied after his death in 2015, CTE was found in the same exact spots.
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) November 16, 2017
McNeill died of ALS back in 2015.
Here’s more on McNeill, via the NY Daily News:
Omalu showed his findings to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta in 2016. Gupta spoke to McNeill’s wife, Tia, and his two sons, Gavin and Fred Jr., who talked about how their father went from “fun loving family man” to someone dealing with memory loss, anger and depression.
Obviously, this is a major breakthrough. The ability to identify CTE in living patients would allow athletes to track brain damage that’s accumulated over the years. It would also allow them to stop playing if they felt the need.