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Brother says Rashaan Salaam had CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, symptoms

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Posted at 11:20 AM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 18:48:29-05

BOULDER, Colo. -- The brother of former University of Colorado Boulder football star and Heisman trophy winner Rashaan Salaam told USA Today that Salaam had the symptoms associated with CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Salaam was found dead Dec. 5 in the parking lot of Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder. The Boulder County Coroner's Office still hasn't officially said how Salaam died. Salaam was 42.

Jabali Alaji, Salaam’s brother, told USA Today, that Salaam had "all the symptoms" associated with chronic football head trauma including, depression, anxiety, apathy and memory loss.

A friend of Salaam's, Riley Hawkins, told the Denver Post that Salaam seemed to be suffering from manic depression.

“He had become more of a recluse,” Hawkins said. “That’s when the demons took over.”

Salaam was a standout running back who won the Heisman Trophy in 1994 as a junior. He skipped his senior year of college and entered the NFL draft, where he was selected in the first round by the Chicago Bears.

Salaam would play for the Bears from 1995 through 1997. In his first year he became the youngest player in the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards.

After leaving the Bears, Salaam played for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers until 1999.

Back in Colorado, Salaam maintained a foundation called the Spin Foundation. He said his goal for the foundation was assisting children in the Colorado area achieve success. 

Salaam held fundraisers, camps and clinics as he attempted to help children avoid some of the mistakes he made while accomplishing their own goals.

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