Brendan Flynn writes, “there’s a pretty interesting, if depressing, article in today’s New York Times tying former safety Andre Waters’s suicidelast year to brain traumas suffered while playing in the NFL. One of the main players is a former Harvard defensive tackle turned WWE wrestler? There’s even some Merril Hoge punch lines as he tries so hard to be sensitive and not a total asshole.”
As promised, from the New York Times’ Allen Schwartz.
The neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu of the University of Pittsburgh, a leading expert in forensic pathology, 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. Dr. Omalu said he believed that the damage was either caused or drastically expedited by successive concussions Mr. Waters, 44, had sustained playing football.In a telephone interview, Dr. Omalu said that brain trauma œis the significant contributory factor to Mr. Waters™s brain damage, œno matter how you look at it, distort it, bend it. It™s the significant forensic factor given the global scenario.
He added that although he planned further investigation, the depression that family members recalled Mr. Waters exhibiting in his final years was almost certainly exacerbated, if not caused, by the state of his brain ” and that if he had lived, within 10 or 15 years œAndre Waters would have been fully incapacitated.
Dr. Omalu™s claims of Mr. Waters™s brain deterioration ” which have not been corroborated or reviewed ” add to the mounting scientific debate over whether victims of multiple concussions, and specifically longtime N.F.L. players who may or may not know their full history of brain trauma, are at heightened risk of depression, dementia and suicide as early as midlife.