Mike Adamle, a former Northwestern football star and “American Gladiators” host, has dementia and likely Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy (CTE), according to the Chicago television station where he had been a sports anchor.
According to Peggy Kusinski of NBC Chicago, Adamle has had seizures and epilepsy for the last 19 years. Adamle says his neurologist said the seizures are “post-traumatic epilepsy,” likely stemming from his football career. Now he’s battling dementia and possibly CTE, though CTE has so far only been able to be detected after a person’s death. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that’s been found in athletes who have been hit in the head repeatedly.
“It shook my world, and it just got kind of a little bit worse sometimes every day,” Adamle said in Kusinski’s story.
Adamle, who’s 67 years old, graduated from Northwestern in 1971. In 1969, he rushed for a school-record 316 yards against Wisconsin. He then ran for 1,255 yards in 1970 and won the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as league MVP.
The Wildcats star then got drafted in the fourth round of the 1971 NFL Draft. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Chicago Bears for six seasons. After his playing days, Adamle got into sports broadcasting, including “American Gladiators,” World Wrestling Entertainment and also helped cover the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics.
Adamle, who said he’s not sure how many concussions he’s had, said he’s also concerned about the depression along with the dementia. According to the story, Adamle wears a fanny pack that has his I.D., phone and house keys in case he needs help or can’t remember. He also says he no longer works and can’t drive.
“I would do it again,” he said of playing football. “I would tell you what, though. I would work harder in the offseason to find out about things that protect you when you play.”
Former Northwestern star Mike Adamle battling dementia
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) February 8, 2017