NYTimes: Soccer Star Bellini Is Found to Have Had Brain Trauma
Bellini, the Brazilian soccer star who won the 1958 World Cup and was honored with a statue outside the Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro, has been found to have had the degenerative brain disease linked to dozens of boxers and American football players when he died in March at age 83.
At the time, his death was attributed to complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers now say he had an advanced case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., which is caused by repeated blows to the head and has symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s.
C.T.E. can be diagnosed only posthumously, and few brains of former soccer players have been examined. Bellini is the second known case, according to Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at Boston University and the Bedford Veterans Administration Medical Center, who was brought in to assist in examining Bellini’s brain. McKee was also involved in a finding earlier this year when researchers found C.T.E. in the brain of a 29-year-old former soccer player from New Mexico who had played semiprofessionally.