BOSTON (WHDH) – Former Patriots player and Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti has pledged to donate his brain to Boston University for CTE research.
Springfield native Nick Buoniconti played 15 years in the NFL as a linebacker. He spent his first six years with the then-Boston Patriots and also played on the undefeated Miami Dolphins team in 1972. He later got his law degree from Suffolk University Law School.
In May, 76-year-old Buoniconti was diagnosed with dementia. He said his doctors suspect CTE could have played a contributing role.
“This is not easy, it’s difficult,” said an emotional Buoniconti. “I’m not half the man I used to be.”
Buoniconti now uses a wheelchair and is said to be declining mentally and physically. He was accompanied by his wife as he officially signed the pledge to donate his brain.
“I don’t do this for myself, I do it for the thousands of others who will follow me,” said Buoniconti.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin also attended Buoniconti’s announcement. The VA oversees BU’s CTE study and Shulkin said the degenerative brain disease also affects many American combat veterans.
“When it comes to those that are serving the country and coming back injured, there are no limits to what the president wants to do to protect and to restore function for these young men and women,” said Shulkin.
Researchers at BU said they are close to being able to diagnose CTE in living patients.
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