Miami Dolphins

110 of 111 brains – including three former Miami Dolphins – had CTE, study finds

Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who took his life in 2012, was among the players diagnosed with CTE.
Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who took his life in 2012, was among the players diagnosed with CTE. Miami Herald File Photo

The ongoing discussion of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in football players continued Tuesday when a study concluded that 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players had the debilitating disease — including three former Miami Dolphins.

Tight end Frank Wainright, linebacker Junior Seau and cornerback Robert Sowell were all part of the updated study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The families of 202 brains of deceased football players from the NFL, college and high school were donated to the study done by Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System, with 99 percent of those brains exhibiting signs of CTE, and 87 percent of them diagnosed with CTE.

ESPN reported that Wainright, who played with the Dolphins from 1995 through 98, was one of the study participants. Wainright, 48, died last October from a heart attack caused by bleeding in the brain, said his wife, Stacie, per ESPN.

“A lot of families are really tragically affected by it — not even mentioning what these men are going through and they’re really not sure what is happening to them,’’ she said. “It’s like a storm that you can’t quite get out of.’’

Seau, who played for the Dolphins from 2003 to 2005, shot himself and died in 2012 at age 43.

Sowell, who played with the Dolphins from 1983 to 85 and 1987, died in 2015 in Tampa. He was 53 years old.

The Miami Herald has documented that several members of the 1972 Dolphins were affected by cognitive impairment, and others are wondering if they’re next.

Former Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti previously called the NFL’s $1 billion concussion settlement “a joke.”

In the study, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players at all levels. Nearly 88 percent of all the brains, 177, had CTE. Three of 14 who had played only in high school had CTE, 48 of 53 college players, 9 of 14 semiprofessional players, and 7 of 8 Canadian Football League players. CTE was not found in the brains of two who played football before high school.

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