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Former Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had stage 2 CTE, family says


Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas suffered from stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a form of brain degeneration that has been found in other athletes, his family announced Tuesday.

Thomas, 33, was found dead in his Georgia home in December. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said a copy of his autopsy report was not ready for release; authorities said foul play was not suspected.

Katina Smith, Thomas’ mother, said her son began to display changes, such as isolation, before his death.

Stage 2 of the disease, known as CTE, is often linked to progressive behavioral, mood and cognitive abnormalities, the Concussion Legacy Foundation said in a press release on Tuesday. Thomas suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks and had memory problems, the foundation said.

Smith said in a statement: “He was so young and it was awful to watch him struggle. His dad and I hope every family will learn about the risks of playing football. We don’t want other parents to lose their children as We did.”

Dr. Ann McKee, director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said she hoped the news was a wake-up call. The center diagnosed Thomas with CTE after his family agreed to donate his brain.

“The question I keep asking myself is ‘When will that be enough?’ When will athletes, parents and the general public stop ignoring the risks of American football and insist that the game be modified to reduce concussive hits and that athletes be thoroughly assessed at the start and end of the game? the end of each season? McKee said in the release.

LaTonya Bonseigneur, Thomas’ cousin, had said the family believed his death was crisis-related. She said he suffered from seizures for over a year before he died.

Thomas’ personal driver found him after a concerned friend asked for someone to watch him.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation said seizures are often associated with late-stage CTE and it believes Thomas developed post-traumatic epilepsy after a car accident and fall he suffered several years before his death. dead.

Thomas is among more than 300 former professional players diagnosed with CTE. Little is known about the condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can only be diagnosed by autopsy, as it requires evidence of brain tissue degeneration.

The NFL has recognized that there is a connection between CTE and the sport. In recent years, it has revised its concussion protocols to impose stricter penalties and restrictions on players.

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