Former soccer player Patrick Grange, 29, was found with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease is linked to repeated blow to the head, following his death. This is the strongest indication that the condition is not only limited to athletes in sports known for violent collisions, like football.
Researchers at Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System said that Grange was the first named soccer player found to have C.T.E. On a four-point scale, his disease was considered Stage 2.
It may come to a shock to some that a soccer player might suffer from a condition more likely found in full-contact sport athletes, however, continuous blows to the head may come from the act of heading an airborne ball. Grange was well known for heading the ball, before he was found to have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Grange sustained a few memorable concussions throughout his career and childhood. “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.” According to McKee, the damage to Grange’s brain corresponded to the part of the head that Grange would use for heading the ball. “We can’t say for sure that heading the ball caused his condition in this case,” McKee said. “But it is noteworthy that he was a frequent header of the ball, and he did develop this disease.”
C.T.E. is believed to be caused by continuous blows or hits to the head – even subconcussive ones barely noted. This condition was found for the first time in a baseball player in December of 2013.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, contact Finkelstein and Partners for a free case evaluation today.