TD, CTE and Me

For a football running back, one of the greatest and most electrifying to watch, what could be better than having the initials “TD”? When I first started paying attention to

Just a kid in college, with a nation (or two) watching him run.

Tony Dorsett, he was a skinny freshman tailback for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Skinny, yes, but also shocking in the ease of his changes of pace and direction, all that effortless speed and the instinct to elude. He made defenders disappear.

Yes, but only sometimes. You don’t win Heisman Trophies as the best in American college football, and you don’t churn through a Hall of Fame career in the brutal territory of the National Football League, without massive numbers of massive collisions with massive, furiously destructive opponents. Now, Touchdown Tony is a 59-year-old husband and father whose family sometimes hasn’t known what to make of him. He has been moody, sometimes upbeat but too often morose or scarily angry, and he tells of one day being unable to remember the way to take his young daughters to a practice he’d chauffeured for many a time. He tells of dark thoughts, but doesn’t want anyone to think he’ll hurt himself any more than his chosen profession already has.

He went looking for answers. The doctors at UCLA figured it out, but what does he do with this knowledge? Although a conclusive diagnosis, as I understand it, can’t be made until the brain is sectioned and stained and microscopically examined – that is, post-mortem – Dorsett now believes that he has Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,

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