Doctors say Pozzobon was suffering from CTE

By on October 10, 2017
Ty Pozzobon rode his way to a first place finish at a competition in New Mexico in 2016. The celebrated bull rider took his own life in early 2017. (Photo contributed).


A team of neuroscientists with the University of Washington have determined that champion bull rider Ty Pozzobon was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy — commonly referred to as CTE — when he took his own life earlier this year.

Pozzobon’s brain was donated to the university following his death on Jan. 9. It was examined by Dr. C. Dirk Keene and Dr. Christine MacDonald at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine Neuropathology Core in Seattle.

Pozzobon is the first confirmed case of CTE in a professional bull rider, stated a press release from Pozzobon’s family and the University of Washington.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease which affects those with a history of repeated brain trauma. Symptoms of the disease can include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement and mood swings.

“Ty’s brain tissue will contribute to numerous studies aimed at better understanding the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in order to develop better diagnostic tests and new treatments,” the release went on to state.

Pozzobon was a gifted bull rider who suffered his fair share of injuries throughout his career, including multiple concussions.

In Louisville, Ky. in 2013, Ty knocked out by a bull called Carolina Kicker. A year later, in Saskatoon, a bull called Boot Strap Bill smashed Pozzobon’s helmet to pieces after bucking the rider off at the buzzer, then kicked Pozzobon’s unprotected head again as he lay prone with the bull bucking around him.

A statement from the Pozzobon family accompanying the press release reiterated the family’s gratitude to the University of Washington for accepting the donation. They expressed hope that Ty’s tragic passing would help athletes understand the importance of understanding the short term and long term impacts from head injuries.

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