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Former NFL star Forrest Blue had dementia, daughter says

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 02:49 PM

Forrest Blue's daughter said the four-time Pro Bowl center with the San Francisco 49ers who helped lead Tampa Chamberlain to the 1961 state prep football title suffered from long-term dementia before his death Saturday at the age of 65.

Brittney Blue said her father's brain will be studied by Boston University for signs of repeated head trauma.

"Dad's symptoms were mild at the start,'' she said. "He suffered from horrible dreams and real basic things confused him. By 2006, we had to start taking care of him much more closely and I'm pretty sure his problems were a result of his football career.''

Forrest Blue spent his final 22 months at an assisted living facility in California, where he was aided by the 88 Plan that provides financial relief for former NFL players with dementia.

That plan is named in honor of Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey, who died two weeks ago at age 69.

"It is indeed a shame that the football world has lost two great former players to dementia in the last two weeks,'' said former Bucs president Gay Culverhouse, whose Players' Outreach Program is dedicated to helping former NFL players deal with medical and financial issues. "John Mackey and Forrest Blue were stars to be emulated. Their deaths in assisted living facilities should send warning signals to all players, coaches and trainers to take concussions seriously.''

On Tuesday, 75 former players filed suit against the NFL in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the league concealed information about the debilitating effects of concussions, dating back to the start of the NFL in the 1920s.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press the league would vigorously contest the allegations.

Brittney Blue said her father suffered multiple concussions during an 11-year career with the 49ers and the Baltimore Colts.

"My mom said that after the first concussion, his personality changed a little and there were signs of depression,'' Brittney said. "You can make helmets very well, but during collisions, your brain is still shaking around in your head.

"Thank God the NFL has turned around when it comes to the concussion issue. Thankfully, my dad benefited from the 88 Plan because we wouldn't have been able to afford that kind of care for him otherwise.''


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