Former Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett says he has signs of brain damage

Tony Dorsett

Credit: Getty Images

Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett rushes for yards during a 1985 NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium on January 4, 1996. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)




Posted on November 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM

DALLAS — Former Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett confirmed to ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" that he was diagnosed with signs of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

During an interview with WFAA back in March, Dorsett said he was dealing with the effects of concussions sustained while piling up more than 12,000 yards rushing as a pro. The situation had gotten so bad he said he had trouble even watching a half-hour TV show.

"There's no way," he said. "I just get bored with it. I’m not following it as well."

Dorsett, 59, was elected in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

"I’ve got these mood swings," Dorsett said. "I’m real temperamental. When I get into this fog, I can’t focus. I can’t concentrate on anything.”

He said he has no idea how many concussions he suffered during his playing days with the Cowboys.

Dorsett told ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" that he even gets lost when he drives his daughters to a soccer or volleyball game and has to ask his wife for directions. He said he was notified on Monday that he was diagnosed with signs of the disease.

Dorsett is one of three former NFL stars who underwent brain scans and clinical tests during the last few months at UCLA.

"I could see why sometimes some guys got suicidal because you’re just not yourself,” Dorsett told WFAA.

He said it hit him about four or five years ago and has been searching for relief ever since.

Dorsett’s former teammate, defensive tackle Randy White, said you never think about the long-term effects.

"When you’re an athlete and you’re competing, you’re not thinking about what you’re going to feel like when you’re 60 years old,” White said.

Researchers have found traces of CTE in more than 50 former NFL players who have died and undergone autopsies.