The brain disease CTE was found in the brain of former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler after his death in July, reports John Branch of The New York Times.
After Stabler died on July 8 of colon cancer at age 69, his brain was donated to science in accordance with the former quarterback's wishes. Scientists discovered he had Stage 3 CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is measured on a scale from one to four.
“He had moderately severe disease,” said Dr. Ann McKee, the chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System who examined Stabler’s brain. “Pretty classic. It may be surprising since he was a quarterback, but certainly the lesions were widespread, and they were quite severe, affecting many regions of the brain.”
CTE has been linked with repeated head trauma, such as the blows delivered in football, and can cause memory loss and depression, among other symptoms. Boston University has now found CTE in 90 of the 94 former NFL players it has studied, seven of which were quarterbacks.
Stabler retired during the 1984 season after 15 years in the league. He played most of his career with the Oakland Raiders, but also spent time with the Houston Oilers and the New Orleans Saints. The four-time Pro Bowl selection amassed 27,938 passing yards with 194 touchdowns, and is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2016.
- Erin Flynn