Jason Hairston, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, has died at the age of 47.
Hairston had revealed he suffered from the symptoms of CTE after playing football for years — but what is chronic traumatic encephalopathy?
Hairston was a linebacker at the University of California, Davis. He then signed with the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent before spending time with the Denver Broncos. His time in the NFL was short, but it may have affected his life later on.
A report by TMZ stated that details of his death remain unclear, but that his passing has been confirmed by family and the company he helped found, KUIU.
Below is a post that KUIU posted on Twitter following his passing. KUIU is a hunting company that catered to many celebrities, including Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Donald Trump, who went on a hunting trip with Hairston just last month.
We are shocked and saddened to announce the tragic passing of KUIU founder Jason Hairston. His legacy lives on in KUIU’s spirit of relentless innovation. pic.twitter.com/oyldbQdYmI
— KUIU (@KUIU) September 6, 2018
What is CTE?
In a 2016 interview on CNBC, Jason Hairston said he felt that he was suffering from CTE due to his days in the NFL, and told how he was glad that the league had finally acknowledged the link between CTE and football-related concussions.
“I played linebacker, and the way I played the game, I led with my head. I played the way they tell us not to play now. I have all the symptoms of CTE.”
Hairston went on to state that he had tried to be proactive about dealing with his symptoms. He had also taken part in multiple studies about the disease in order to help himself and other sufferers.
As defined by the Concussion Legacy Foundation, “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma.
In CTE, a protein called Tau forms clumps that slowly spread throughout the brain, killing brain cells.