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Football and CTE: fear overshadows facts

FILE - In this Tuesday Jan. 27, 2009, file photo, Dr. Ann McKee, of Boston University School of Medicine, talks about damaged human brains during a news conference about chronic traumatic encephalopathy in Tampa, Fla. Jeff Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, acknowledged a link between football and the brain disease CTE for the first time Monday, March 14, 2016. Miller referenced the work of McKee, who has found CTE in the brains of 90 former pro football players. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
FILE – In this Tuesday Jan. 27, 2009, file photo, Dr. Ann McKee, of Boston University School of Medicine, talks about damaged human brains during a news conference about chronic traumatic encephalopathy in Tampa, Fla. Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety, acknowledged a link between football and the brain disease CTE for the first time Monday, March 14, 2016. Miller referenced the work of McKee, who has found CTE in the brains of 90 former pro football players. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Todd Ewen spent the last years of his life with a shadow over him.

The former NHL enforcer read the news about other hockey players who had been diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease known as CTE after they died, and he told his wife Kelli, “If they have CTE, I know I have CTE.” He had memory loss and depression, and wondered if hockey had caused it.

He died last September at age 49, reportedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ewen’s family decided to donate his brain to science, in the hopes of increasing awareness of how concussions might lead to CTE and later-life problems.

Lili-Naz Hazrati, a Toronto-based neuropathologist at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, studied Ewen’s brain.

“We didn’t find anything,” Hazrati said in an interview with Yahoo Sports.

Ewen, despite playing a brutal sport with untold collisions and blows to the head, did not have CTE. He had depression, and fear.

“He thought he had CTE,” Hazrati said. “He was convinced. He was very afraid. That might have pushed him to do what he did.”

Read more at Yahoo.com…

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