Report: Lions running back Mel Farr had CTE

The Detroit News
Mel Farr

Former Detroit Lions running back Mel Farr had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death in 2015, according to a report.

ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” says Farr’s family donated his brain and spinal cord to the Boston University School of Medicine, where researchers have been testing the brains of deceased athletes for CTE.

CTE is a brain disease associated with blows to the head.

Farr died in 2015 at the age of 70. At the time of his death, the cause was not immediately known. ESPN says Farr died of a massive heart attack due to undiagnosed hypertension.

Farr played in the NFL for seven seasons, from 1967-73, all with the Lions. He played in 69 games and totaled 3,072 yards rushing on 739 carries. He also caught 146 passes for 1,374 yards.

After retiring from football, Farr became well known for his Detroit-area car dealerships and his “Mel Farr Superstar” television ads.

"Mr. Farr had Stage 3 CTE, which is consistent with other football players of similar age and exposure," Dr. Ann McKee, director of Boston University's CTE Center, told ESPN. "Mr. Farr had symptoms consistent with other Stage 3 cases, including memory problems, significant personality change, and behavioral symptoms."

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