LOS ANGELES: Super Bowl-winning defensive end Charles “Bubba” Smith was suffering from the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death in 2011, a report revealed on Wednesday.
Smith, who forged a successful acting career following his playing days, appearing in the hit “Police Academy” movies, is among 90 former NFL players found to have CTE, the Concussion Legacy Foundation reported on its website.
Researchers at Boston University who studied Smith’s brain said the player showed symptoms of suffering from Stage 3 (out of 4) CTE, a severe level of the condition.
“Prior to his death, Smith was reported to have developed significant cognitive decline, including memory impairment and poor judgment,” researchers said.
“He was also unable to complete many tasks of daily living on his own, such as paying bills, shopping, or traveling.”
Smith was found dead at his home in Los Angeles on 2011 at the age of 66.
He was later found to have suffered an overdose of phentermine — a weight loss drug. He also suffered high blood pressure and heart disease.
Smith won a Super Bowl title with the Baltimore Colts in 1971, four years after being drafted by the team. He later played for the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers.
CTE cannot be diagnosed in living people. In March, the NFL’s top health executive became the first senior league official to acknowledge a link between football-related head trauma and CTE.