Former soccer star Bruce Murray speaks out on his struggles with reminiscence, doable hyperlink to CTE

After we consider the danger of concussions in athletes, sports activities like soccer and hockey typically come to thoughts. However researchers have additionally been specializing in a special sport: soccer.

Bruce Murray, a former soccer star who retired in 1995 after a number of concussions and collisions, is talking out about his personal struggles with reminiscence and why his days on the sphere might have triggered power traumatic encephalopathy. Concussions have already been linked to CTE, however now researchers consider smaller repetitive hits to the pinnacle may be accountable.

The stealth illness has no treatment and may solely be identified after dying. Signs of CTE embody hassle with reminiscence, issues organizing and planning easy actions, and adjustments in habits, comparable to lack of motivation or having a brief mood.

Murray, who was on the high of his sport in 1990, stored a popularity for being a fearless participant at Clemson College earlier than taking part in ahead for Staff U.S.A. However his aggressive play typically left him seeing stars, together with throughout a match in Saudi Arabia, the place a Saudi participant’s knee caught him within the head.

“I used to be on my palms and knees, looking for the place my equilibrium was, however for the subsequent six weeks to a month, I’d go locations and never know why I used to be there,” he advised CBS Information’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

Murray determined to lastly hold up his sneakers at age 29 as he continued to expertise post-concussion signs like lack of sleep, complications and light-headedness. 

“My physique simply felt crushed up,” he stated.

When CBS Information visited Murray and his household in Maryland two years in the past, he was troubled by latest lapses in reminiscence, together with one which left him particularly shaken. He was in a automobile ready for his spouse and son to return from a retailer after they got here out and he did not instantly acknowledge his personal spouse, Lynn.

Due to Murray’s historical past of concussions, the couple reached out to Boston College’s heart for power traumatic encephalopathy, also called the CTE Middle. Since CTE can solely be identified after dying, researchers scanned Murray’s head for clues, and so they discovered one: his mind tissue had atrophied, or shrunk. 

Dr. Ann McKee, director of the CTE Middle, has examined the brains of a whole lot of deceased veterans and athletes, together with soccer participant Aaron Hernandez, who died by suicide whereas serving a life sentence for homicide. She stated concussions are usually not the one reason behind CTE, and warns that injury from asymptomatic hits might accumulate over time and result in the next danger for CTE.

McKee says the danger of head trauma from heading a soccer ball is regarding and that “there’s an argument for taking heading out of soccer.” An estimated 13 million youngsters play soccer in the USA, and McKee believes extra must be carried out to defend athletes of all ages.

“These balls are coming from an important distance at an incredible velocity, and that impacts the pinnacle and results in these accidents in a while,” she stated.

U.S. Soccer, which governs the game from kindergarten by means of the elite stage, has in depth concussion protocols, and it bans or limits headers in youngsters 13 and youthful. However with regards to sub-concussive hits in older gamers, U.S. Soccer advised CBS Information it’s awaiting extra analysis. The group declined our request for an on-camera interview.

Murray stated his situation seems to be secure, however he continues to wrestle with reminiscence, focus and stability. He nonetheless enjoys teaching youth soccer, however believes the game he loves might have adjustments to make it safer for everybody.

“I believe U.S. Soccer wants to handle this,” Murray stated. “It is known as soccer all around the globe. What should you rewrote the principles? Do it’s important to head the ball?”

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