TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Researchers diagnosed former NFL receiver Vincent Jackson, who was found dead in a Florida hotel room in February, with stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Jackson played 12 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring in 2018. Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was 38 when he died.
The late player’s family on Thursday released the findings of a study conducted by the Boston-based Concussion Legacy Foundation’s Brain Bank in hopes of raising awareness of the risks of CTE and the disease.
“Vincent devoted much of his life to helping others. Even in his passing, I know he would like to continue that legacy,” Jackson’s widow Lindsay said in a statement released by the foundation.
“We expect to continue to see advances in CTE research, helping clinicians diagnose the disease in survival and ultimately finding treatment options in the future,” she said. “There is still much to be understood about CTE, and education is the key to prevention.”
The Concussion Legacy Foundation describes CTE as “progressive degenerative brain disease due to repetitive head trauma”, with stage 2 CTE “behaviors such as aggression, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, paranoia, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.” Associated with symptoms, as well as progressive cognitive symptoms.
Stage 4 is the most severe stage and is most commonly associated with dementia, the foundation said.
“Vincent Jackson was a brilliant, disciplined, gentle giant whose life began to change in his mid-30s. Progressive memory loss, problem-solving difficulties, paranoia, And eventually he became depressed with extreme social isolation.
“That their brains showed stage 2 CTE should no longer surprise us; these results have become common,” the doctor added in the foundation statement. “The surprise is that so many football players have died with CTE and all Little is being done to make football safe at levels, by limiting the number of repeated subconscious hits.”
Jackson was found dead by a housekeeper four days after checking in at a hotel east of Tampa.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said there were no signs of trauma at the time and the medical examiner’s office was looking into the cause of death.
Jackson began his professional career with the Chargers and in 2012 signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the Bucs, ending with 540 receptions for 9,080 yards and 57 touchdowns.
Jackson was a four-time nominee for the NFL’s Walter Peyton Man of the Year award and after retiring continued to be involved in a number of charities, including his own Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, which supported military families.
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