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A Former Football Star Blames Hits for Dementia

'I led with my head all the time,' says Mark Gastineau
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2017 8:30 AM CST

(Newser) – A former big-name player in the NFL is blaming football for leaving him with serious brain-related health issues. In a phone call to WOR radio in New York, ex-Jets star Mark Gastineau revealed a disturbing diagnosis from a year ago, reports ESPN. "When my results came back, I had dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's," said Gastineau, now 60. "Those are three things that I have."

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In his 1980s heyday, Gastineau was one of the best pass rushers in the league. "I led with my head all the time," he said in what both ESPN and the New York Post describe as a "rambling," sometimes hard-to-follow interview. Also of note: Gastineau became a professional boxer from 1991 to 1995 after retiring from football. (Bo Jackson says he never would have played the game had he known the risks.)

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