TORONTO — An analysis of Steve Montador’s brain shows the late NHL player had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Montador was a 35-year-old retired defenceman who sustained multiple concussions during his career.
His brain was donated after his death in February to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at Toronto’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre’s for analysis.
Project head Dr. Charles Tator says the autopsy showed the widespread presence of CTE throughout Montador’s brain.
Prior to his death, the former NHLer had suffered from depression, erratic behaviour and problems with his memory.
The brain of former Calgary Stampeder John Forzani was also donated to the project after his death last October at age 67, but no signs of CTE were found, despite a history of multiple concussions.
“These results indicate that in some athletes multiple concussions lead to the development of CTE, but also that certain individuals may be more vulnerable than others to developing CTE as a result of concussions,” said Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, neuropathologist in the Laboratory Medicine Program at the University Health Network who conducted the autopsies.
“Adding these findings to the other results we’ve had to date reflects the spectrum of our findings by showing that concussions can affect the brain in different ways.”
A third donor, a 76-year-old former professional football player who was an offensive and defensive tackle with several teams in the CFL and for a short period in the NFL, was also found to have CTE in his brain.
The unidentified player sustained several concussions over a 14-year professional football career, some of which caused unconsciousness.
Sometime after retirement, he developed dementia for which he was treated for many years before his death.
To date, the Sports Concussion Project has analyzed the brains of 16 athletes, with roughly half showing signs of CTE or the presence of another neurodegenerative disease.
The Canadian Press