Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Late QB Stabler had brain disease CTE

Late Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler — the 1974 NFL MVP, a Super Bowl winner and this year a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame — has been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the degenerative brain disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, researchers at Boston University said.

Stabler, who died last year of colon cancer at 69, is one of the highest-profile players to have had CTE. The list, now well over 100, includes at least seven members of the Hall of Fame, including Junior Seau, Mike Webster and Frank Gifford.

The day after Stabler died July 8, his brain was removed during an autopsy and ferried to scientists in Massachusetts. Over several months, it was dissected for clues, as Stabler had wished, to help those left behind understand why his mind seemed to slip so precipitously in his final years.

On a scale of 1 to 4, Stabler had high Stage 3 CTE, researchers at Boston University said. One of them, Dr. Ann McKee, said the disease, which can be diagnosed only after death, was widespread throughout his brain, with "quite severe" damage to the regions involving learning, memory and regulation of emotion.

"We've now found CTE in former NFL players who played every position except kicker," said McKee, a professor of neurology at Boston University. "While we know on average that certain positions experience more repetitive head impacts and are more likely at greater risk for CTE, no position is immune."

The relationship between concussions and brain degeneration is still poorly understood, and some experts caution that other factors, such as unrelated mood problems or dementia, might contribute to symptoms experienced by those later found to have had CTE.

McKee said there was no evidence of any other brain disorder "to explain the difficulties he experienced during life." The extent of the damage to Stabler's brain was surprising because he was relatively young when he died and because he was a quarterback and thought to be less exposed to repeated head trauma, she said.

Scientists are quick to note that they do not understand why some players get CTE and others do not.

Late QB Stabler had brain disease CTE 02/03/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 9:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant (2-0)

    TAMPA - Berkeley Prep senior Isabella Samson looks for an opening against Walton High from Georgia during the championship final on Saturday at the Berkeley Premier tournament. Walton, ranked No. 1 in the country by maxpreps.com, went on to defeat the Bucs 25-16, 25-18. Taken 9-16-17 by Scott Purks
  2. For ex-Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the legacy is in the jeans

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon has plenty of memories of his time at the Trop during nine years of managing the Rays. "Too many to count,'' he said.

  3. Study shows playing football before age 12 can lead to mood and behavior issues

    Footballpreps

    A new medical study has found that children who play football before age 12 suffer mood and behavior problems later in life at rates significantly higher than those who take up the sport later.

    Youths who began playing tackle football before the age of 12 had more behavioral and cognitive problems later in life than those who started playing after they turned 12, according to a study released by Boston University researchers on Sept. 19, 2017. [Tamir Kalifa | The New York Times]
  4. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants

    Bucs

    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  5. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium

    Bucs

    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]