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)

Latest CTE diagnosis: Hall of Famer Smith

Bubba Smith died in 2011.

Bubba Smith died in 2011.

Bubba Smith, the All-Pro defensive end in the NFL who went on to a second career as a movie actor, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma, when he died in 2011.

The findings were confirmed by researchers affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation, and released Tuesday with the permission of the executor of Smith's estate.

Smith is the 90th former NFL player found to have had CTE by the researchers at the Boston University brain bank; they have examined 94 former pro players. On a scale of 1 to 4 used by the neuropathologist who examined Smith's brain, Smith had Stage 3 CTE, with symptoms that included cognitive impairment and problems with judgment and planning.

Smith died at age 66 of an overdose of phentermine, a weight-loss drug.

At 6 feet 7 inches and nearly 300 pounds, Smith was a quick and powerful lineman chosen as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1967 draft by the Baltimore Colts. His career was derailed by a knee injury sustained during a 1972 preseason game in Tampa.

After football, Smith joined other former pro athletes who appeared as themselves in commercials for Miller Lite beer. As an actor his most memorable role was playing Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken officer in the Police Academy movie series. He also appeared in TV series.

In the Miller Lite spots, he and fellow NFL veteran Dick Butkus were cast as inept golfers and polo players. Mr. Smith was also featured solo in one commercial extolling the virtues of the beer, beaming into the camera, "I also love the easy-opening cans," while ripping off the top of the can.

In related news, Dave Mirra, the star BMX rider who killed himself in February, also had CTE. The condition was diagnosed by neuropathologists at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Concussion Center, where Mirra's brain was examined after his death. "It's assumed it is related to multiple concussions that happened years before," Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati told ESPN. Mirra won 14 gold medals at the X Games and helped popularize freestyle BMX.

Latest CTE diagnosis: Hall of Famer Smith 05/24/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 9:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning Strikes! podcast: Breaking down the Bolts' record start

    Blogs

    In this episode of our Lightning Strikes! podcast, we break down the Lightning's record 7-1-1 start. Why are Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos clicking so well? Why Mikhail Sergachev is likely here …

    Why are Steven Stamkos, pictured, and Nikita Kucherov clicking so well?
  2. My AP Top 25 ballot: UCF moves into the top 15, Michigan falls out

    Blogs

    No major changes in my latest AP Top 25 ballot.

  3. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 9

    Footballpreps

    Tampa Bay Tech Titans Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half during the first half at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, October 20, 2017.
  4. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo

    College

    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  5. Journal: USF gets support on the road

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111