(NEW YORK) — Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett was diagnosed this week with a condition linked to depression and dementia that may have come from head trauma suffered during his playing days with the Dallas Cowboys.
Doctors told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that Dorsett, fellow Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall show signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which damages brain cells in areas controlling memory and emotions.
The evaluations of Dorsett, DeLamielleure and Marshall came a year after UCLA diagnosed five unidentified former NFL players with CTE, the first time signs of disease were found in living former players.
Dorsett, 59, told ESPN that bouts with memory loss, depression and even thoughts of suicide led to him to be tested. He remarked that when he was on the way to UCLA, he couldn’t remember why he was onboard a plane.
The 1976 Heisman Trophy winner and eight-time league leader in rushing retired 25 years ago. He said his mission now is “to know if this is something that has come about because of playing football.”
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