First Extreme Sport Athlete Diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

June 23, 2016 | Crandall & Pera Law
First Extreme Sport Athlete Diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

The BMX world reeled in early February when news broke that Dave Mirra, a legend in the sport, was dead of an apparent suicide. Reports surfaced that Mirra had struggled with depression following his retirement in 2011; family and friends said that Mirra was an “adrenaline junkie” who struggled to find a replacement for the thrill of his BMX days. Some, like Allen Thomas, mayor of Mirra’s hometown, speculated that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was the cause of the superstar’s untimely death, while others claimed that the sport was unlikely to cause the condition.

Milestone for CTE sufferers

As of late May, the results are in. Dave Mirra is officially the first extreme sport athlete to be diagnosed with the degenerative disease. CNN reported, “CNN affiliate WITN spoke with University of Toronto neuropathologist Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, who confirmed Mirra's diagnosis. She said that the tau deposits found in Mirra's brain were similar to that of professional football players and hockey players diagnosed with CTE.” Widow Lauren Mirra released a statement in response to the medical report thanking fans, friends, and family for their support in the wake of the tragedy. The statement also announced plans to create a platform to raise awareness and fund research for CTE. This effort marks the first initiative by the alternative sports world to become involved in what is rapidly being recognized as a global problem. Education efforts help spread awareness that even precautions like padding and controlled falls aren’t enough to prevent the development of CTE.

Why awareness is important

Understanding how mental health affects our loved ones is vital. Without knowledge and understanding, it can be difficult or impossible for victims of mental health disorders to receive the treatment they so desperately need. Dave Mirra’s unnecessary death is a case in point; there was no precedent for CTE in BMX athletes, and no one thought that the condition could be the underlying cause of Mirra’s mental health issues. Depression and memory loss in suspected CTE victims can be treated more aggressively and taken more seriously by family and healthcare professionals alike. Raising awareness helps everyone. If you believe that your loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder, seek professional medical advice immediately. There is no shame in mental health; the danger lies in leaving a life-threatening condition untreated. If your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, seek professional medical attention immediately. When an accident causes a brain injury, there are serious consequences that affect your loved one and your family forever. The experienced Kentucky and Ohio traumatic brain injury attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 877.686.8879 for our Ohio team, 877.651.7764 for our Kentucky team, or contact us today for a free consultation.