TIME Football

NFL Star Ken Stabler Had CTE Brain Disease, Report Says

Oakland Raiders
Robert Riger—Getty Images OAKLAND, CA - CIRCA 1970S: Ken Stabler #12 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during a circa 1970s game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.

He's the 7th NFL quarterback researchers have found had the disease

Researchers have confirmed that Ken Stabler, the former Oakland Raiders quarterback who died in July, suffered from an advanced form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Commonly known as CTE, the brain disease has been linked to the deaths of dozens of NFL players who took repeated blows to their heads during their careers.

Stabler died of colon cancer, but suffered from confusion and splitting headaches late in his life. An analysis of his brain after his death by the Boston University of School of Medicine found that he had Stage 3 CTE. Of the 94 former players’ brains that BU has examined, 90 had some form of CTE. Though players who take regular hits to the head are thought to be most susceptible to CTE, Boston University has found the disease in 7 NFL quarterbacks’ brains.

Stabler is a finalist this year to join the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


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