According to an in depth report that will come out this week in Sports Illustrated, former Miami Dolphins LB Nick Buoniconti has been suffering from what appears to be a brain disorder. According to the story, Buoniconti has fallen multiple times, has memory loss and even has hard a time doing simple tasks such as putting on a shirt over the past four years.
Though he hasn’t officially been diagnosed with CTE, signs are really starting to point to that being the case. He’s also not the only member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins undefeated team that has had some brain issues. RB Jim Kiick, who had terrible living conditions before being moved to an assisted-living facility has been suffering from early onset Alzheimers. Back up QB Earl Morrell died in 2014 had one of the most advanced stages of CTE. Bill Stanfill who died in 2016 had been diagnosed with Dementia at the age of 69.
The Miami Herald has more:
Former Dolphins defensive lineman Manny Fernandez said last year that four members of 1972 Dolphins had cognitive issues but understandably declined to identify them. Former star safety Dick Anderson said two of those four require assistance, though Anderson and Fernandez note it’s impossible to know whether those four have CTE, Alzheimer’s Disease or advanced dementia.
Fernandez relayed a story from 2015 of when he left his home north of Albany, Georgia., to drive to South Florida for a funeral. Two and half hours later, he realized he had left his suit and garment bag at home.
For the full article click here.
Nick Buoniconti is a figure known even outside of 1970s football as he spent over two decades on the weekly cable show “Inside the NFL” alongside NFL Hall of Famer Len Dawson. Buoniconti is speaking out about his condition to raise awareness of the brain issues a lot of former players are seeming to get later in life. The fact that so many high profile members of the iconic 1972 Miami Dolphins team, the last to go unscathed en-route to winning the Super Bowl, are suffering physically may open more eyes to the effects football has on the human brain. It also speaks to the need for the NFL to come up with a more concrete policy in regards to dealing with the health of the former players.
Brain injuries have been a touchy subject for the league. However, the raising of awareness by former players such as Nick Buoniconti ought to push the conversation into a more reasonable arena. It should open up the eyes of the current NFLPA in how they negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement, to potentially include long term care for those who played in the league and suffer major effects from the injuries they sustained while playing. Either way this is going to be a tough story to digest once Sports Illustrated releases it, considering how beloved Nick Buoniconti is in the South Florida community.