Pavle Jovanovic, who represented the United States at the 2006 Olympics, is said to be the first athlete in a sliding sport to be found with an illness caused by repeated head injuries

A former Olympic bobsleigh who killed himself last year had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the researchers concluded, the same degenerative brain disease that has been found in former football players and others athletes who have participated in violent contact sports

Pavle Jovanovic hanged himself in his family’s metalwork shop in central New Jersey in May 2020 He was 43 years old He is believed to be the first bobsleigh and the first athlete in an Olympic sliding sport to be found with CTE Debilitating brain disease results from multiple head traumas and can cause severe brain degeneration, often well before the stage of life, when the population as a whole suffers from brain disorders, such as dementia and dementia. Parkinson’s

The discovery of CTE in Jovanovic’s brain is likely to send shockwaves through a sport that is only now beginning to understand the dangers of what participants casually refer to as “sledhead” Athletes have been using since long term to describe the exhausted fog, dizziness and headaches that even a routine running can cause

Jovanovic was the third North American elite bobsledder to kill himself since 2013 In recent years, a growing number of current and retired boardsports athletes, especially bobsleigh and skeleton, have reported suffering chronically many of the same symptoms that affect soccer players and other contact sports athletes They face constant headaches, increased sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises, forgetfulness and psychological issues

Jovanovic ran on track and played football in high school and saw limited action for two college football seasons, but he quit attending Rutgers University full time in 1997 to pursue bobsledding He spent about a decade competing in international bobsleigh competitions, a sport that requires athletes to hurtle down an ice track at 80 miles an hour and endure a spitting experience that researchers have likened to baby syndrome. shaken

It is not uncommon for catastrophic collisions with athletes to squeeze through the ice under overturned sleds, but a combination of speed and vibration, especially in the tight bends of a sliding track, can damage the brain even when accidents don’t happen, experts say

The CTE conclusion was made in March by Dr. Ann McKee, a leading neuropathologist and director of the CTE Center, who discovered the disease in the donated brains of dozens of deceased soccer players. can only be diagnosed posthumously In Jovanovic’s case, she was only able to study a small sample of the brain, but that was enough to indicate “moderate illness,” McKee wrote

A moderate illness finding is similar to that of former NFL Junior Seau players Dave Duerson and Aaron Hernandez, all of whom died by suicide

“It doesn’t allow me to conclude, but it does allow me to understand who my brother was and who he has become, and that was someone else,” said Nick Jovanovic, Pavle’s older brother.

Jovanovic pushed sleds that excelled in World Cup competitions and represented the United States at the 2006 Olympics By the time of his death he had been undergoing several years of treatment for psychiatric disorders, a addiction and symptoms, including uncontrollable twitching and Parkinson-like tremors

Degenerative brain problems and their debilitating effects have become an increasingly open secret in the tight-knit world of bobsleigh and its sister sport, skeleton, in which competitors slide head first on small metal snowmobiles. and carbon fiber

Aside from Jovanovic, Adam Wood, whose wife recorded his anguished calls as his mental health deteriorated so there is said to be a record, committed suicide in 2013 at the age of 32. The following year, Travis Bell, who competed for the United States in the late 1990s, committed suicide at age 42

Additionally, Steven Holcomb, who in 2010 piloted the sled known as the Night Train until the United States’ first gold medal in bobsleigh in 62 years, died alone of a drug overdose in 2017 after years of fighting depression He was 37. Another Olympic medalist, Bill Schuffenhauer, attempted suicide in 2016 by slitting his wrist, but was saved by his girlfriend

Holcomb, America’s most famous bobsleigh, arranged to donate his brain to a scientific study and told close friends he may have CTE But researchers couldn’t find the disease when they dissected his brain They also did not find CTE in Adam Wood’s brain

The Lack of CTE This finding does not mean that an athlete in a sport with high speed collisions does not suffer from symptoms caused by repeated traumatic impacts to the brain and concussions, Dr. Robert Stern, neuropsychologist and director of clinical research for the CTE Center, said in an interview last year

In board sports, researchers say that much of the damage can occur even during a routine outing

Nick Jovanovic said Pavle started shaking and shaking uncontrollably in the middle of the night as early as 2013 He had recently stopped competing in bobsleigh After injuries prevented him from making the US team at the 2010 Olympics, Jovanovic competed in 2011 and 2012 for Serbia, the country his father immigrated from when he was a young man.

The next seven years were painful for Jovanovic and everyone around him Although he had an engineering degree from Rutgers which he obtained in 2010, Jovanovic slowly lost the ability to do mathematical calculations. simple in his head

He drank heavily and became moody He got into a fight at local bars and restaurants near his home in Toms River, NJ, and even attacked his brother in their steelmaking office Local police have accumulated a long file of complaints about him

He had a series of stays in a mental health center, where he was treated for alcoholism, depression and bipolar disorder. At the time of his death, he was taking prescription medication to treat his mental health problems as well as the tremors and tremors often experienced by people with Parkinson’s disease or who take antipsychotics

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) You can find a list of additional resources on SpeakingOfSuicidecom / resources


World news – USA – Olympic bobsleigh who killed himself probably had CTE