GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – ESPN is reporting that Dave Mirra is the first action sports athlete to be diagnosed with CTE.
The online edition of ESPN The Magazine cites a University of Toronto neuropathologist’s findings, with others confirming the diagnosis.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression. It’s the same chronic brain damage that has shown up in the brains of dozens of football players.
Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, the Toronto neuropathologist, told ESPN The Magazine that the tau protein deposits found in Mirra’s brain were indistinguishable from the kind that have been found in the brains of former football and hockey players with CTE.
Mirra died on Feb. 4 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Greenville, N.C.
Statement from Katie Moses Swope, Dave Mirra’s publicist, on behalf of the Mirra family:
Following the death of BMX icon Dave Mirra, the Mirra family decided to pursue posthumous neurological testing which included a study for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
The study was coordinated by the University of Toronto and the Canadian Concussion Centre under the direction of Lili-Naz Hazrati, M.D., PhD. Leading neuropathologists from the U.S. and abroad unanimously confirmed the diagnosis of CTE.
From Dave’s wife, Lauren Mirra: “We would like to thank our family, friends and the overwhelming number of Dave’s fans who have supported us during this difficult time. We ask for your continued support in honoring Dave’s legacy and for your patience as we plan to create a platform for CTE awareness and research.”