Michael Keck died at the age of 25 last year, of what doctors believe was a heart condition. Keck was a star football player at Harrisonville High School. He red-shirted one season for the University of Missouri and then transferred to Missouri State University, where he played for two seasons. He eventually quit the sport after the several concussions he experienced began causing him mental torment.
Keck's symptoms — severe headaches, memory less, violence, depression — were consistent with the symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE
CTE is the subject of much concern
these days; it has been discovered in the brains of many deceased football players, many of whom committed suicide or died bizarre, untimely deaths following periods of distress. (The Frontline special
on CTE is excellent if you're interested.)
Boston University is home to the country's leading team of researchers on the subject of CTE. Those researchers have been studying Keck's brain, which his family donated to the school. Yesterday they announced their findings, which are that Keck did indeed suffer from CTE — the most advanced case they'd seen in someone so young.
"When you talk in terms of his age, being young, and you talk about his limited years of playing, it is one of the more severe cases," Dr. Robert Cantu, a co-founder of the CTE Center at BU, told the AP
. "Had he lived to 70 or 80, we would have expected this to be a Grade 4 (the most severe form) case."
Most previous CTE research has been done on former NFL players. These findings are evidence that playing football can permanently ruin the brains of players before they even get to the NFL. Yikes. More here