Marion Barber III's Brain Won't Be Donated for CTE Research, Family Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

SAN ANTONIO - AUGUST 06:  Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys during training camp at the Alamodome on August 6, 2009 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The family of former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber III won't donate his brain toward research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

"He was real specific in his will that he didn’t want that," Marion Barber II said of his son, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Clarence E. Hill Jr. "We are going to respect that. But in the condition his body was in, according to the examiner, that probably would have been a moot point because of the decomposition."

Barber was found dead in his apartment Wednesday. While no cause of death has been determined, authorities don't suspect foul play.

The 2013 PBS documentary League of Denial helped to lift the lid not only on the long-term risks of multiple concussions and repetitive subconcussive blows to the head but also on the NFL suppressing that information from players and the wider public.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster was the first former NFL player diagnosed with CTE. Since then, the brains of a number of former players have been examined to make posthumous diagnoses and further CTE research.

Per Hill, Barber "suffered some mental health challenges since his retirement from the NFL in 2012" and was hospitalized on two occasions for "mental health evaluations."

The 38-year-old spent seven seasons in the NFL, with all but one of those years coming in Dallas. He ran for 4,780 yards and 53 touchdowns and made one Pro Bowl appearance in 2007.