View Full Version : Terry Long's death attributed to NFL injuries..**Update 9/15 - Autopsy challenged

09-13-2005, 11:13 PM
Football injuries contributed to former Steeler's death
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

By Joe Mandak, The Associated Press

Former Steelers lineman Terry Long died from a brain inflammation that resulted, in part, from repeated head injuries he suffered while playing football, according to a coroner's findings announced today.

Long, 45, died at UPMC Passavant Hospital on June 7, a few hours after paramedics found him unconscious at his Franklin Park home. An autopsy was inconclusive, but subsequent tests on tissues and fluids taken from Long's body yielded the findings released today.

Long died of an inflammation of the lining of the brain, said Joseph Dominick, chief deputy coroner in Allegheny County. A contributing factor was "chronic traumatic encephalopathy" -- also known as dementia pugilistica -- a condition most often seen among career boxers.

"He wasn't a boxer, but that's a general term that we would use to denote changes in the brain of a degenerative nature," Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht said. "They can be from one intensely traumatic injury, or they can be from repetitive and cumulative injuries, which is what we believe happened here."

Wecht's autopsy report said Long's brain suffered "repeated mild traumatic injury while playing football." Those repeated injuries made Long's brain more susceptible to meningitis, which can sometimes also be caused by an infection, but Wecht said wasn't the case with Long.

"We now have partial closure on Terry's tragic death and demise," Mark Rush, his former business attorney and friend, said of the autopsy findings. "It certainly saddened me to learn that football, a sport Terry loved, possibly contributed to his death."

here's the rest (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05256/570743.stm)

09-14-2005, 08:06 AM
I am in no way trying to disrespect his death, but it seems like being a former Steelers lineman is not a good position to be in...we have lost more than our fair share over the years.

09-14-2005, 02:10 PM
At the age of 45, there isnt a good way to go! Football injury or not, R.I.P.

09-14-2005, 02:57 PM
I second that Cleve. RIP Terry Long

09-14-2005, 09:46 PM
Living your dream unfortunately comes at a price sometimes. Steve young is also another one that comes to mind that was living close to the edge w/ all the head injuries he had too.

09-15-2005, 02:06 PM

The Pittsburgh Steelers team neurologist who challenged autopsy results showing that former lineman Terry Long died from football-related head injuries, once advised another team doctor that Long had symptoms of a concussion during a game in 1987, according to team records reviewed as part of the autopsy.

Dr. Bennett Omalu, the neuropathologist who helped conduct the autopsy for the Allegheny County Coroner's Office, said Dr. Joseph Maroon sent a letter to another team doctor after Long had a head-on collision with a Houston Oilers player.

The Dec. 22, 1987, letter said Long became lightheaded, dizzy and confused and walked with an unsteady gait afterward. Maroon recommended in the letter that Long not play for at least a week, said Omalu, who called the symptoms "massive concussive injuries."

Omalu released the letter's contents after Maroon, a renowned expert on concussions, challenged the autopsy results in Thursday's editions of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht announced Tuesday that Long died in June of meningitis - a swelling of the lining of the brain - caused, in part, by "repeated mild traumatic injury while playing football."

Maroon said the coroner was wrong to link Long's death to his football career.

"I'm simply disputing the statement that football caused this man's death," said Maroon, vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Maroon said he didn't recall writing the 1987 letter, but didn't dispute its contents - although he disagreed with Omalu about the seriousness of Long's symptoms as described in it.

I.C. Lights
09-15-2005, 05:29 PM
It does seem strange that he got a viral or bacterial infection from previous injuries. Either way, it's a sad story. God Bless, Terry Long.

09-15-2005, 06:05 PM
I would never, in a million years, second guess Cyril Wecht. He is a gem in the crown of Pittsburgh. He was the lone dissenting view in the HSCA (Or Church Hearings) in 1975. Wecht correctly pointed out that it was impossible for Lee Harvey Oswald to have killed JFK purely on forensic evidence...he was deemed a nut himself for cutting against the grain, and history has proven him right. The guy's reputation is above reproach...