Gifford's brain was studied to advance medical research about football injuries

By Lynette Rice
Updated November 25, 2015 at 08:20 PM EST
Credit: Robert Riger/Getty Images

The late Frank Gifford — who played professional football for 12 years before becoming a sportscaster — suffered from the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (or CTE), his family announced on Wednesday.

After the 84-year-old Hall of Famer died in August, the family made the “difficult to decision to have his brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury.”

The Giffords released this statement:

Gifford played football for the New York Giants from 1952 to 1964. In 1977, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Afterwards, Gifford became a sportscaster for CBS and then eventually the co-host of Monday Night Football until 1985. He is survived by his third wife, Today co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, their two children, and his three children from his first marriage to Maxine Avis Ewart.

Many former NFL players, including Junior Seau, Mike Webster, Terry Long, Andre Waters, and Justin Strzelczyk, suffered from CTE, it was revealed after their deaths. The disease was given a national spotlight thanks to Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Pittsburgh forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who performed the autopsy on Webster following his 2002 death. A movie based on CTE research, called Concussion, will arrive next month with Will Smith starring as Omalu.