Former NFL player discusses tremendous difficulties of living with symptoms of CTE
Brian Price doesn't remember charging through glass doors of auto parts store
YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Hard-hitting numbers were released Tuesday in a new study about football players and head trauma.
The study found that 99 percent of former NFL players' brains are damaged. Out of 111 brains examined, all but one had signs of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
Symptoms of CTE include emotional instability, depression and memory loss. Doctors said the brain damage is more common than previously thought, and more work should be done to detect and treat it in its earliest stages.
The NFL said it has pledged $200 million for research in the prevention and treatment of CTE.
On Monday, Local 4 introduced you to Brian and Candice Price, who have a daily battle with what they call "signs" of the disease. They hope progress comes sooner rather than later.
Video of Brian Price at an auto parts store in Ypsilanti Township shows him agitated, disoriented and scaring people around him. The people had no idea he is actually a former defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys.
His wife is a track star and he has a daughter, Gianna, with a baby boy on the way.
Candice Price said she doesn't want to see the video of her husband plowing through the glass door of the auto parts store, but she thinks if he had been anywhere other than Washtenaw County, he would have been shot dead.
"This isn't like a torn ACL or a broken arm and we're going to physical therapy," Candice Price said. "We're dealing with something they can't even educate on, let alone emotionally and mentally what it does to a family."
Brian Price likely has CTE. Will Smith recently starred in the movie "Concussion" about the doctor who discovered the progressive degenerative brain disease in NFL players.
There are 33 NFL players who have been definitively diagnosed with CTE after death, including Frank Gifford and Junior Seau.
Red Wings legend Bob Probert was discovered to have CTE in his brain tissue after he died.
The cause of CTE is repeated blows to the head. It manifests in multiple ways, including dementia, aggression, difficulty thinking and suicidal thoughts. There is no cure.
"I had been trying to reach out to (the NFL) prior to this incident to get more consistent therapy," Candice Price said. "To see what the options are, and even for myself, I can't be the only woman that's suffering with this."
Brian Price has an assigned case manager who takes his wife's calls, but as far as medical help, Candice Price is frustrated.
Brian Price doesn't remember what happened at the auto parts store, just the taste of blood in his mouth.
"Mentally, like some days, I struggle at lot, but as a man and a friend and a father, I don't want people to see it," Brian Price said. "But at the same time, I'm not the only one going through this."
He said his short-term memory has become increasingly poor. When asked if he was in pain, he shrugged it off.
"In high school I used to get headaches a lot," Brian Price said. "My momma used to hate it when they slap you on your head when you make a good play."
He's also gone through personality changes.
"He has his core characteristics," Candice Price said. "So gentleman-like qualities, the respect for women, but it's definitely altered his personality."
Brian Price is only 28 years old. The NFL paid to send him to therapy at a cost of $40,000, but they will no longer pay, and treatment for CTE is not covered by insurance.
"I'll be very honest and transparent," Candice Price said. "I really hope there is a solution before -- it's terrifying to think that young men killing themselves, killing their families. That is a big fear of mine. Not that Brian would ever hurt anyone else. Not that he'd hurt me or my family. But the pain that he goes through, does he hurt himself?"
Candice Price said she doesn't want her unborn son to ever play football.
You can watch Mara MacDonald's interview with the Prices in the video posted above.
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