The famous BMX biker, Dave Mirra, was found dead on February 4, 2016 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Since then, it was found that Mirra had suffered from CTE, known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a neurodegenerative disorder resulting from recurring head impacts has been increasingly seen in former professional football players. However, this is the first case of CTE found in an extreme sport athlete.
Mirra’s brain was examined after his death at the University of Toronto and the Canadian Concussion Center, where neuropathologists discovered his condition.
CTE is a progressive disorder of the brain that is seen to result from repeated concussions or other brain trauma. Athletes who participate in contact sports or those who undergo repeated contact and trauma to the brain are at risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Overtime, the disorder is known to mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss, mood swings, and anger.
This finding highlights a significant issue in the sports community, indicating that not just professional football players are developing this brain disorder.
Mirra was known for his incredible success at the X Games, where he won a total of 14 gold metals and helped commercialize freestyle BMX biking.
Mather, V. (2015 May 24). The BMX Rider Dave Mirra, Who Died in a Suicide, had CTE. Available from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/25/sports/dave-mirra-cte-bmx.html?_r=0
Kounang, N. (2016 May 25). Late BMX Biker Dave Mirra had CTE. Available from http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/24/health/dave-mirra-cte-bmx-biker/