Nick Buoniconti
Nick Buoniconti attends the 32nd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner To Benefit The Miami Project/Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis in New York Getty


  • Former Miami Dolphins believes memory loss stemmed from years of concussions and brain trauma during career.
  • Doctors believe he may be suffering from degenerative disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy following 14-year career.

NFL Hall of famer Nick Buoniconti has said he will donate his brain after his death to further the study of the effect of concussions, believing his 14-year playing career left him with severe memory loss and other issues.

Buoniconti, 76, one the stars of the Miami Dolphins' undefeated 1972 Super Bowl championship team, pledged to donate his brain to the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) team at Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation. He added that his "life, as I know it, has been taken away from me" as a result of repeated brain injuries while playing American football.

Appearing at a press conference in a wheelchair, Buoniconti was in tears while announcing his decision to donate his brain to CTE research, a degenerative disease of the brain associated with sports starts who suffer blows to the head such as boxers and American football players.

He said: "I don't believe there are any miracles with this disease, but I am so proud to be with Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Dr McKee and the Boston University CTE Center and Concussion Legacy Foundation team today, who are so dedicated to fighting the ravages of concussions and thousands of head impacts.

"I hope that my story and contribution will help thousands of others who are in this journey, or who will follow me."

In May, Buoniconti announced to Sports Illustrated magazine that he suffers from memory loss, cannot use his left hand and struggles to dress himself as a result of his brain trauma stemming from his footballing career.

The article triggered yet more discussions surrounding the potential head trauma risk NFL players face.

The announcement was made one month after Buoniconti's son, Marc, called for youth American football to be banned.

The 32-year-old has been paralysed from the neck down since he suffered a spinal cord injury playing football at The Citadel in 1985.

Marc Buoniconti said: "My NFL Hall of Fame father announced today that he will be donating his brain to the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) team at Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation when he passes away to help them better understand the issues affecting him, and the many others suffering from the aftermath of concussions.

"True to his nature, he continues to try and help others even while he wages his own battle. Just as he has done for me for more than 32 years as we've searched for a cure for paralysis, we will all stand beside him as he searches for answers."