Former Dolphins running back Jim Kiick displays medical evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to an NFL-approved neurologist (via Sports Illustrated).
Kiick has been suspected of having CTE over the last few years as he displayed gaps in his memory and started to drift into dementia. He was put into assisted living last year after he was found to be “living in squalor, failing to take care of either himself or his apartment and consuming an alarming amount of medications.”
But in the last few days his condition became clear, and it became more clear because of the medical research Dr. David B. Ross did on the two-time Super Bowl champion.
“Jim actually had signs of contusion: bruises,” Ross told Sports Illustrated. “You can see it clearly: It’s called ‘encephalomalacia’ — wasting or hardening; there are areas of the brain where there are gaps, and that’s where a specific brain injury occurred. It’s the stuff you see after significant localized head trauma or stroke. He has holes in his brain.”
Ross went on to explain that this is not dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s but a clear sign of brain trauma.
While Kiick is often the forgotten member of the ’72 Dolphins’ backfield alongside Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, the impact he had on the game was enormous. Kiick was one of the first running backs to truly be a dual-threat in the running and receiving games.
In a nine-year career, Kiick finished with 3,759 rushing yards in addition to 2,302 receiving yards. But in a time when the equipment was not nearly as safe as it is today, Kiick took plenty of shots to the head as did teammate Nick Buoniconti and is now suffering the consequences.
“There’s no question that he suffered significant brain trauma,” Ross said.