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Thursday, November 14, 2013
Ex-players want in on CTE study

By William Weinbaum

The researchers who say they can determine whether a living person has chronic traumatic encephalopathy said they have been "inundated" with inquiries from former college and professional football players about possibly undergoing testing themselves.

"Outside the Lines" reported last week that researchers from UCLA and TauMark, a company formed 10 months ago that purchased a license to the brain scan used to test for signs of CTE, said that four former NFL stars -- including ex-Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett -- had tested positive for signs of CTE.

Since last week, the researchers and the attorney for the players said that well over 100 former players have inquired, as have many parents of youth athletes. TauMark said it is seeking expedited FDA approval for the test.

"We're not advertising and not commercially open for business," said Bob Fitzsimmons, a TauMark director, who was the attorney for Mike Webster, the Hall of Famer whose autopsy 11 years ago produced the first diagnosis of CTE. "We're still in the study phase."

Nine former NFL players have been tested at UCLA thus far. All nine were diagnosed with signs of CTE, the degenerative condition linked to dementia and depression that some scientists attribute to head trauma.

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