PITTSBURGH - NFL Hall of Famer and former University of Pittsburgh running back Tony Dorsett has announced he’s been diagnosed with early signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalo Pathy.
The 59-year-old Hopewell graduate told ESPN’s "Outside The Lines" that he underwent evaluations at UCLA and brain scans indicated early signs of CTE.
CTE, the same disease that took Mike Webster’s life, is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma.
Dorsett said he’s experienced memory loss, depression and thoughts of suicide.
“It’s painful, man, for my daughters. They’re scared of me,” Dorsett said.
Dr. Jack Wilberger, a neurosurgeon from the Allegheny Health Network, told Channel 11 sports director Alby Oxenreiter that CTE is potentially fatal.
“It acts like Alzheimer’s, except it occurs at a young age and people die from it in a relatively short timeframe,” Wilberger said.
Officials said this is the first time CTE has been diagnosed in a player before his death.
Wilberger said there’s no way to stop CTE right now, but the earlier it’s diagnoses, there's more hope for proper treatment.