The BMX legend suffered from CTE, the degenerative brain disease associated with concussions
It’s been a little over three months since the BMX community lost legend Dave Mirra to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This morning, ESPN released an interview with Mirra’s wife, Lauren Mirra, and news broke that Dave Mirra was tested positive for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or as it’s more commonly known, CTE. The brain disease, which has been linked to concussions, is one that the medical community is just beginning to understand. Although Dave’s passing will never be fully understood, the diagnosis provides some insight into what he suffered from in his last days. Below is an excerpt of Laren Mirra’s interview with ESPN:
ESPN: This is likely the first CTE story that many action sports athletes and their families will read. What do you want to say to them?
Lauren Mirra: My biggest takeaway is that [suicide] is something Dave would never, ever, in his right mind, have chosen. He was sick. And this is real. This is a real disease. At the same time, I don’t want people to live in fear or stop doing what they are passionate about. I don’t want this to be associated with any one sport. Let’s carry on like he would. Let’s continue to progress and turn this into good. Stay strong. He autographed that on everything. When I sat down and talked to our girls, I said, “You know how Daddy always said to stay strong? Well, it’s our time to be brave now.” So that’s our motto. Be brave. Stay strong.
From RideBMX, the Mirra Family press statement is below:
Statement from Katie Moses Swope, Dave Mirra's publicist, on behalf of the Mirra family:
"Following the death of BMX icon Dave Mirra, the Mirra family decided to pursue posthumous neurological testing which included a study for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The study was coordinated by the University of Toronto and the Canadian Concussion Centre under the direction of Lili-Naz Hazrati, M.D., PhD. Leading neuropathologists from the U.S. and abroad unanimously confirmed the diagnosis of CTE.
From Dave's wife, Lauren Mirra: "We would like to thank our family, friends and the overwhelming number of Dave's fans who have supported us during this difficult time. We ask for your continued support in honoring Dave's legacy and for your patience as we plan to create a platform for CTE awareness and research."