Former NFL Players Show Interest in Being Tested for Symptoms of CTE

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2013

Tony Dorsett
Tony DorsettAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In the wake of several former NFL players being diagnosed with the degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), more than 100 additional former players have inquired about being tested, according to ESPN's William Weinbaum.

Per Weinbaum, researchers from UCLA and TauMark have teamed up to test for signs of CTE in former NFL players. TauMark, "a company formed 10 months ago that purchased a license to the brain scan used to test for signs of CTE," plans on using the technology much more in the future.

TauMark's first round of testing resulted in nine former NFL players being diagnosed with CTE, which scientists believe is linked to head injuries. The condition has also been associated with dementia and depression.

Mark Duper
Mark DuperStephen Dunn/Getty Images

Among those players are former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mark Duper, former Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Joe DeLamielleure and former New York Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall

While former NFL players are reaching out to TauMark, the company has yet to go public.

"We're not advertising and not commercially open for business," said Bob Fitzsimmons, a TauMark director who was the attorney for Mike Webster, the Hall of Fame center whose autopsy 11 years ago produced the first diagnosis of CTE. "We're still in the study phase."

Commercial use may not be far away, though, according to TauMark director Bill West.

"We're creating a database," West said, "and we should be commercially able to do it [conduct more tests] beginning in the first quarter of 2014."

Not only is TauMark in a position to help former and current athletes by researching CTE, but it also figures to have a lucrative business venture on its hands.

Per Weinbaum, TauMark researcher and director Dr. Julian Bailes estimates that individual testing will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per person.   

Every former player tested thus far has had some form of CTE, according to Weinbaum, but TauMark believes and is hopeful that CTE isn't something that exists in all football players across the board.

Research is still in its infancy when it comes to concussions, CTE and other head injury-related ailments, but provided TauMark continues to make strides, there will be more clarity moving forward.   


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