Former NFL lineman, Alex Karras passed away yesterday at his home in Los Angeles. The former Detroit Lion and Actor was 77 years old.
In the 1960s, Karras was one of the most feared defensive tackles. In the 1980s he garnered fame from playing on television shows such as "Webster" and "Blazing Saddles" and appearing in "Porky's" on the sliver screen.
The former Lions player fell into poor health over the last few years. He had been battling heart disease, stomach cancer, and had been recently diagnosed with kidney failure and dementia.
Karras’ dementia and his death deliver another blow the NFL. The former Lion was one of the 3,500 retired football players who filed suit against the NFL, alleging that the organization failed to properly address concussion injuries. His wife recently admitted that his quality of life had deteriorated because of injuries sustained during his athletic career.
Two other NFL veterans, Ray Easterling and Junior Seau passed away earlier this year from self inflicted wounds which are believed to be tied to brain injuries. Like Karras, Easterling was also a key plaintiff in the NFL concussions lawsuits.
No decision has been made yet whether or not Alex Karras’ brain will be donated to science, a decision that was made by both Ray Easterling and the family of Junior Seau. Through a postmortem study of the brain, scientists could determine if repeated head trauma, such as a concussion, had anything to do with psychological conditions or neurological conditions such as dementia.