Ken Stabler, the legendary NFL quarterback, was suffering from high stage 3 chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E) when he died in July 2015, the New York Times reported today.
Per the report, the former Oakland Raiders star joins a list of over 100 former professional football players found to be suffering from the degenerate brain disease, and he is perhaps the most high-profile known C.T.E. sufferer so far.
Stabler, who died from colon cancer at the age of 69 last year, had given his blessing for his brain to be examined as part of the continued research into the dangers of the game.
Considering the ongoing debate surround C.T.E., spurred on in part by the imminent release of the 'Concussion' movie, today's news will be seen as another damning result for the NFL.
Dr. Ann McKee, the doctor who examined Stabler's brain, said the evidence of C.T.E. was "pretty classic."
"It may be surprising since he was a quarterback, but certainly the lesions were widespread, and they were quite severe, affecting many regions of the brain," she continued.
A quarterback during the '70s and '80s, "The Snake" was certainly afforded less protection that today's modern signal callers which could account for the levels of damage found posthumously.
Nevertheless, with 90 of the 94 former NFL players examined by Boston University having been found to have been suffering from C.T.E., today's report would suggest the risk is very real for a large proportion of those who play the game.
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