Dave Mirra diagnosed with brain disease CTE

Legendary BMX athlete suffered from brain damage

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Legendary BMX athlete Dave Mirra was posthumously diagnosed with CTE, the same brain disease that affects NFL athlete and boxers. Photo courtesy of ESPN

Legendary BMX athlete Dave Mirra was posthumously diagnosed with CTE, the same brain disease that affects NFL athlete and boxers (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy of ESPN

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE for short is a degenerative brain disease that stems from repeated concussions. It had been linked to boxing for a number of years, but recent studies have also tied it to other contact sports such as football and hockey.

Overtime those who suffer from CTE will experience symptoms that start mildly such as dizziness or headaches, but can deteriorate further into memory loss and abnormal behavior. In its final stages, the disorder can cause dementia, speech impediments, deafness, and suicidal tendencies.

Today, it has been announced that Dave Mirra suffered from the disease. He is the first action sports athlete to receive the diagnosis. According to ESPN, Mirra had suffered a fractured skull from when a car hit him as a teenager, but also endured numerous concussions during his riding career. His wife began to detect shifts in his personality over the past year and after his passing, his family decided to have his brain tested.

While cycling does not entail the same repeated hits as team sports such as football or soccer, we do run a heightened risk or crashing every time we ride. The vast majority of those falls might entail a tuck and roll to the shoulder, but occasionally you do see riders decimate helmets. That’s why we’ve obsessed in the past over how our standards don’t do enough to protect us from concussions and the new technologies that are emerging to help reduce brain trauma. We can only hope that this diagnosis will help to increase awareness of CTE and help find a cure.

For more information, visit ESPN.


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  • Matt says:

    RIP Dave I hope it brings the family some peace. I wish I saw more helmets on people at the skate park, but its still the norm to see most every ad or piece of media for BMX or Skate featuring helmetless riders.

  • Dr. Spock says:

    first, my condolences to the family, very tragic.

    my question is this: How many people having concussions, and how many concussions, wind up getting cte?

    I think it’s a very small percentage. Your percentages of being killed in a highway accident are much higher, yet no one seems to be focused on that. We have the stats, but it is an inconvenience we choose to ignore.

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