Jul 9, 2011

John Mackey's Death Renews Focus on NFL Brain Trauma, Alzheimer's, and Dementia

John Mackey, helped revolutionize the NFL's tight end position, he spent the last ten years of his life battling dementia.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

John Mackey was a great football player, and by all accounts a better man.

He was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 60.

Mackey died Wednesday in Baltimore after a 10-year battle with frontal temporal dementia, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The video below is moving.

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Health care for former NFL players like Mackey has been an issue in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for current professional players. An NFL lockout has been under way since March.

In honor of John Mackey's jersey number, 88, an NFL labor agreement ratified in 2006 does include a plan that provides up to $88,000 a year for care for ex-players with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

John Mackey will be remembered as the heart and soul of the National Football Leagues's players union.

DEMAURICE SMITH, National Football League Players Association: There are few leaders, I think, in the history of football that could ever match a man like John. And while he suffered from a number of degenerative conditions over the last few years, I will always remember John as someone who was a tremendous, emotional, eloquent, brilliant leader.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,800 articles with more than 602,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room