The latest study on concussion-related CTE in football players made me think about Rick Klassen.
A defensive lineman with the B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders through the 1980s, Klassen was a great guy with a wonderful family.
But before he died recently of cancer at age 57, his mood swings, depression and memory problems convinced them to donate his brain for research. The autopsy showed a nearly unbelievable combination of CTE and dementia. That explained Klassen’s troublesome personality issues, but didn’t assuage the pain his family endured.
It made me wonder how many families suffered through similar journeys.
A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that 90 per cent of the brains donated from former players at all levels of football – including seven of eight former CFLers – were affected by CTE.
Granted, those were men who showed troubling symptoms, but it’s still too many.