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Family members of late 49er Greg Clark shares story of his battle with CTE

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Greg Clark is not alive to celebrate the 25th anniversary of being drafted by the 49ers out of Stanford.

Would he even have finished so?

“Yes,” his widow, Carie, claimed just after a thoughtful pause. “I feel he would have celebrated.”

Clark liked football, and his spouse and children even now does in spite of its greatest impression on his brain, which wreaked havoc on him just after his NFL profession ended in 2001.

Greg Clark was 49 when he died by suicide previous July while alone at his family’s Danville dwelling. A self-inflicted gunshot wound shook their tranquil oasis in Mount Diablo’s shadow.

At 6 a.m. the next day, Carie Clark was on the cellphone, trying to find to understand the place to donate her late husband’s brain for scientific study — and for answers.

The Clark household, in an exclusive job interview with this news firm, is revealing that Boston College researchers found indicators of Stage 3 CTE – long-term traumatic encephalopathy – in Clark’s mind.

“He completely was struggling in silence,” Carie Clark stated in an emotional interview, together with Greg’s brother Jon, this 7 days at a Pleasanton café.

“He did all the issues they attempted to supply and it just wasn’t more than enough,” Carie included of cure choices as a result of the NFL and its gamers union. “I did not truly know a entire lot, since he was hiding it from me.”

“CTE is a progressive disease and it receives worse as an unique ages,” stated Dr. Ann McKee of the Boston College CTE Middle. “Even even though Greg retired just before age 30, the condition continued to development and it unfold from those lesions, which is quite classic for CTE. His condition had distribute into the interior of mind, the components that management mastering and memory.”

The Clarks are not talking out to position blame. They do not want to burn down the sport. Carie insists on preserving the family’s year tickets to see their still-beloved 49ers with sons, Jayden, 22, and McKay, 14.

Jayden will graduate later this yr from Southern Utah, exactly where he completed his soccer vocation as a linebacker previous fall, just months soon after his father’s death.

Greg Clark performed practically 15 a long time of soccer. He was a compact college or university All American at Ricks College in Utah. Invoice Walsh recruited him to Stanford, wherever he performed two seasons and gained a diploma in psychology.

He was a third-spherical decide by the 49ers in the 1997 NFL draft.

San Francisco 49ers tight end Greg Clark (C) retains up the ball just after scoring a landing on a move from 49ers quarterback Steve Youthful as Green Bay Packers defenders Bernardo Harris (L) and George Koonce glimpse on during the to start with fifty percent of their NFC Wild Card playoff sport in San Francisco 03 January. (Picture by D. ROSS CAMERON/AFP by way of Getty Visuals) 

Clark had some highlights (4 touchdowns about four seasons) and some injuries, the final of which needed hamstring operation to sideline him all of 2001 right before his release in February 2002.

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Whether or not or not Clark experienced a record of concussions, McKay noted that “it’s these gentle hits, called sub-concussive hits, that above time bring about CTE.”

Not long before he died, Clark despatched e-mail to friends and medical practitioners seeking assistance. Carie, his spouse of 22 decades, discovered of this only right after his dying.

“We understood he had CTE signs. I was shaken when they claimed he experienced advanced, Phase 3 CTE,” Carie Clark said.

Greg Clark’s anxiousness in 2014 had him request assist. But the treatment prescribed to him only set him in a darker place. So, for 8 yrs, he took the homeopathic route with natural vitamins.

Her husband did not opt into the NFL’s concussion settlement right up until 2017. Once he joined, he went to Southern California for testing and gained cost-free therapy periods.

He did not lead a route of destruction. His marriage and finances were being intact. He and Jon had been enterprise associates in East Bay serious estate for 14 several years, and Greg created a complicated portfolio as a result of it.

“Greg was very intelligent, and he was striving to come across ways to make himself far better,” Jon recalled. “The final number of several years of his life… speak about carpe diem.”

If a “powder alert” strike his brother’s cellular phone concerning snowfall, he’d head out to ski. He’d enthusiastically strike top secret fishing holes, or spontaneously sign up for his brother to hike 50 percent Dome.

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