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CTE found in brain of late Canadian bull rider Ty Pozzobon

Ty Pozzobon's family hopes the finding can help others who play sports that carry the risk of multiple head injuries.

Ty Pozzobon, aboard Bone Handle, competes in Round 1 of the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Invitational in New York's Madison Square Garden, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

Richard Drew/ CP

Ty Pozzobon, aboard Bone Handle, competes in Round 1 of the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Invitational in New York's Madison Square Garden, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

An examination of the brain of a professional bull rider from Merritt, B.C. shows that Ty Pozzobon suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the result of numerous concussions during his rodeo career.

Pozzobon killed himself on Jan. 9, 2017. He was just 25 years old.

Pozzobon’s family donated his brain to the University of Washington’s School of Neuropathology Core. Two doctors examined his brain and found that Pozzobon had neuropathologic changes consistent with CTE. It’s the first confirmed case of CTE in a professional bull rider.

In a recent study, CTE was found in 99 per cent of deceased professional football players whose brains had been donated for scientific study.

The condition, found in the brains of those who have suffered repeated head injuries and concussions, can cause memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, and eventually progressive dementia, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

Pozzobon’s family said in a statement:

“Ty’s passing has brought so much sorrow and pain to all, we hope everyone, specifically athletes, understand that we need to educate each other with regards to head injuries, both short and long-term impacts.

“Ty’s family believes not to stop doing what you are passionate about, but do it in a smarter way, and listen to both what the medical professionals tell you and what your body and mind are telling you.”

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