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"Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated blows to the head, has been found posthumously in a 29-year-old former soccer player, the strongest indication yet that the condition is not limited to athletes who played sports known for violent collisions, like football and boxing," the New York Times reports.
"Researchers at Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System, who have diagnosed scores of cases of C.T.E., said the player, Patrick Grange of Albuquerque, was the first named soccer player found to have C.T.E. On a four-point scale of severity, his disease was considered Stage 2 . . .
"Grange was a lifelong soccer player who starred in high school and played collegiately at Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico. He played for the Chicago franchise of the Premier Development League, a proving ground for future professional players, and in a couple of semiprofessional leagues."
"Grange, who died in April after being found to have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, was especially proud of his ability to head the ball, said his parents, Mike and Michele. They recalled him as a 3-year-old, endlessly tossing a soccer ball into the air and heading it into a net, a skill that he continued to practice and display in college and in top-level amateur and semiprofessional leagues in his quest to play Major League Soccer.
"Grange sustained a few memorable concussions, his parents said - falling hard as a toddler, being knocked unconscious in a high school game and once receiving 17 stitches in his head after an on-field collision in college.
"'He had very extensive frontal lobe damage,' said Dr. Ann McKee, the neuropathologist who performed the brain examination on Grange. 'We have seen other athletes in their 20s with this level of pathology, but they've usually been football players.'"
"In hindsight, Grange's family said that he showed symptoms of C.T.E. beginning in high school. He struggled to balance a checkbook. He did not understand the repercussions of failing classes. He once left for Seattle to try out for a soccer team and returned to find he had been fired from his job waiting tables because he never asked for time off. Grange fought depression in the years leading to his diagnosis, his parents said."
Steve James's updated Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis debuts Thursday at NYU. Here's the trailer:
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