The health news regarding the 1972 Dolphins keeps getting more and more grim.
Running back Jim Kiick’s cognitive ability in recent years deteriorated to the point where state inspectors determined his apartment was unlivable because of the filth, according to a new Sports Illustrated report.
Kiick has since been moved into an assisted living facility by his children, including professional tennis player Allie Kiick.
“He just acts like a kid, in every way now — not taking care of himself,” Allie Kiick told SI. “We tell him what to do and he listens, but he was pooping his pants, all that stuff. So I — literally — mean that he had turned into a kid.”
Kiick is just the latest ’72 Dolphin to come forward about his post-football cognitive struggles. Linebacker Nick Buoniconti can barely put on a shirt, has memory loss and often falls. And brain damage is believed to have contributed to the deaths of both quarterback Earl Morrall and defensive end Bill Stanfill.
Here’s Kiick’s story, as relayed by Sports Illustrated:
Kiick began experiencing CTE symptoms earlier this decade. An MRI revealed significant brain trauma. Unlike most players with microscopic brain damage, Kiick has huge bruises.
“He has holes in his brain,” said Dr. David B. Ross, medical director of the Comprehensive Neurobehavioral Institute in Plantation. “Earlier in his career he had enough impact that he had bruises on his brain that left scars and holes. So there’s no question that he suffered significant brain trauma. This is more than Alzheimer’s. This is more than frontal-lobe dementia, Parkinson’s dementia. This is more than infection. He had brain trauma, and that’s unequivocal.”
Kiick was ultimately diagnosed with dementia/early onset Alzheimer’s and suspected CTE.
His life deteriorated in the years since. He went all but broke, and while the NFL has programs designed to help ex-players in his condition, Kiick went years before seeing any actual money. Son Austin dropped out of college to be his caretaker.
Kiick, who also suffers from congestive heart failure, also lost his perfect season Super Bowl ring.
Kiick played seven seasons for the Dolphins, rushing for 3,759 yards and scoring 33 career touchdowns.