GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The diagnosis of what’s commonly known as CTE is from a neuropathologist that Dave Mirra’s family contacted after his death.
Mirra committed suicide outside a friend’s house in Greenville in February. The loss came after he helped unite the community, by pushing for Greenville’s designation of “Sportstown USA.”
He was only 41-years-old.
CTE is known to lead to multiple disorders and mental issues.
Mirra was pivotal to the area’s extreme sports scene. More than three months after his death, memorials are still up at the city’s skate park. One rider who frequents the area said he never thought bikers and skateboarders would be at risk for CTE.
Liam Jury, a frequent rider, said he associates CTE with football. It’s a condition found in dozens of NFL players that can lead to dementia, memory loss or depression. A team of doctors at the Canadian Concussion Center said BMX legend Mira can be added to the list of athletes with CTE.
He is the first action sports athlete to be diagnosed, something most, including Mirra’s fans, associate with football.
“I was surprised, but I guess it makes sense. You could definitely make the connection,” said Jury.
The degenerative brain disease is caused by repetitive brain traumas or concussions. It can look like a hit in football, or falls by action sports riders like Mirra.
Professionals say it can happen to anyone.
“It just doesn’t happen at sporting events. Concussions can happen anywhere, anyplace, anytime,” said Latangee Knight, of Vidant Medical Center.
In an article done by ESPN, Mirra’s wife said her husband experienced a number of symptoms before his death including fatigue, forgetfulness, and moodiness. She told ESPN Magazine, “He would repeat conversations and topics to the point where it was obvious to the person he was talking to but not to him. He would dwell on a subject and not want to move on from it.”
Mirra’s publicist, Lauren Mirra, said she plans to create a platform for CTE awareness and research. As for Mirra’s fans, they’re still saddened by his death, but this diagnosis won’t keep them from the sports they love.
“I mean, I’m not really going to stop,” said Jury.
9 On Your Side spoke to the doctor who performed Mirra’s autopsy. She said CTE looks the same regardless of the sport.