Very sad story in last week's New York Times about the suicide of former Philadelphia Eagles safety Andre Waters. Turns out there is a strong connection between repeated concussions and depression (leading to suicide), and also a strong correlation between repeated concussions and early-onset Alzheimer's.
In fact, "neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu of the University of Pittsburgh ... determined that Mr. Waters’s brain tissue had degenerated into that of an 85-year-old man with similar characteristics as those of early-stage Alzheimer’s victims." Yipes! Waters was 44.
I love football as much as the next girl (ok, probably much more than the next girl), but I don't like to see my boys get hurt like this. I especially like the part where this connection was made by former football player / wrestler and *non-scientist* Chris Nowinski. Fascinating story.
Expert Ties Ex-Player’s Suicide to Brain Damage - New York Times
see also the accompanying graphic Cost of Concussions, showing tissue from Waters' brain and that of a normal brain.
Byline: Alan Schwarz
published on: January 18, 2007