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Late BMX Biker Dave Mirra Diagnosed With CTE

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BMX icon Dave Mirra, who died in February, suffered from the type of chronic brain damage that has shown up in the brains of dozens of football players, a University of Toronto neuropathologist has concluded. Multiple neuropathologists confirmed the diagnosis.

Mirra is the first action sports athlete to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression. He died on Feb. 4 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Most scientists believe that CTE is a result of repeated, or subconcussive, hits to the the head. The concern is that each time the head takes a pounding, it shakes the brain inside the skull.

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That can lead to a buildup of an abnormal protein called tau, which can take over parts of the brain.

CTE can result in Alzheimer’s disease-like symptoms, including memory loss, rage and mood swings.

Mirra’s wife, Lauren said in a statement:

“We would like to thank our family, friends and the overwhelming number of Dave’s fans who have supported us during this difficult time … We ask for your continued support in honoring Dave’s legacy and for your patience as we plan to create a platform for CTE awareness and research.”

Mirra will be inducted into the National BMX Hall of Fame in Chula Vista, California, on June 11. He will also be honored June 4 during this year’s X Games in Austin, Texas, with a new event named for him, the Dave Mirra BMX Park Best Trick competition. The winner will be awarded the Mirra Golden Pedal and prize money.

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