A former Olympic bobsledder who killed himself last year had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the researchers concluded, the same degenerative brain disease found in former football players and other athletes who participated in violent contact sports.
Pavel Jovanovic hanged himself in his family’s metal work shop in central New Jersey in May 2020. He was 43 years old. He is believed to have been the first sportsman and first athlete of the game with CTB to have had brain disease results with CTE. Many can cause major trauma and severe encephalopathy, long before the stage of life when a wider population experiences brain disorders, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
The discovery of CTE in Jovanovic’s brain is likely to send shock waves through a game that is just beginning to make sense of the dangers Participants are casually referred to as “sledge heads”. Athletes have long used the term to describe tired fog, giddiness and headaches that can also lead to a regular run.
Jovanovic was the third elite North American bobsledder to kill himself since 2013. In recent years, an increasing number of current and retired athletes in sliding sports, especially Bobsleigh and Skeleton, Stated that they are equally prone to many symptoms that plague football players and other contact sports athletes. They deal with constant headaches, bright lights and loud sounds, a susceptibility to amnesia and psychological problems.
Jovanovic ran track and played football in high school and saw limited action during two seasons of college football, but he stopped advancing bobsledding to attend Rutgers University in 1997. He spent nearly a decade competing internationally at Bobsleigh, a sport that required athletes to drop an ice track at speeds of up to 80 mph and endure the sizzling experience of the brain that researchers shook Compared with Baby syndrome.
Accidents are not uncommon for athletes slipping in slams under the ice due to the catastrophe. But the combination of speed and vibration, especially in tight turns of a sliding track, can cause brain damage even when not crashed, experts say.
CTE’s discovery in March led to a prominent neuropathologist, Dr. Ann McKee and the director of Boston University’s CTE Center, who have discovered the disease in the donated brains of scores of dead football players. For now, CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously. In Jovanovic’s case, she was only able to study a small sample of the brain, but this was enough to indicate “moderate disease”, McKee wrote.
A finding of moderate illness is similar to former NFL players Junior CU, Dave Duerson and Aaron Hernandez, who all died by suicide.
“It doesn’t stop me, but it makes me understand who my brother was and who he was, and he was someone else,” said Pavle’s older brother Nick Jovanovic.
Jovanovic went on to excel in World Cup competitions and represented the United States at the 2006 Olympics. At the time of his death, he had years of treatment for psychiatric disorders, drug addiction and Parkinson’s disease, including uncontrollable twitching and shaking symptoms.
Degenerative brain problems and their debilitating effects, games of bobsled and its sister, have become an increasingly revealing mystery within the tight-knit world of skeletons, In which contestants slide headfirst On small slabs made of metal and carbon fiber.
In addition to Jovanovic, Adam Wood, whose wife broke his call due to a deteriorating mental health, set a record for suicide in 2013 at the age of 32. The following year, Travis Bell, who competed for the United States. He took his own life at the age of 42, in the late 1990s.
with this, Steven Holcom, Who single-handedly killed Sledge, known as the Night Train for the first gold medal for the United States at Bobsley in 62 years in 2010, from overdose In 2017 After years of battling depression. He was 37. Another Olympic medalist, Bill Schaffenhuer, attempted suicide in 2016 by cutting his wrist, but was saved by his girlfriend.
The most famous American bobsledder Holcomb had arranged for his brain to be donated for scientific study and told close friends that he may be suffering from CTE but researchers did not detect the disease when he dissected his brain. He also did not find a CTE in Adam Wood’s brain.
The lack of a CTE finding does not mean that an athlete in high-speed collision sports is not suffering from symptoms due to repeated traumatic effects to the brain and components, Drs. Robert Stern, a neuropsychologist and director of clinical research. Boston University’s CTE Center said in an interview last year.
In slipping sports, researchers say that even during a regular ride a lot of damage can occur.
Nick Jovanovic has said that Pavle started moving uncontrollably since midnight in early 2013. He recently stopped competing in Bobsled. Injuries prevented him from making the US team at the 2010 Olympics, with Jonovich competing for Serbia in 2011 and 2012, the country in which his father lived as a youth.
The next seven years were painful for Jovanovic and all those around him. Despite earning a degree in engineering from Rutgers in 2010, Jovanovic slowly lost the ability to do mathematical calculations in his head.
He drank loudly and became moody. He became involved in fights at a local bar and restaurant near his home in Toms River, NJ, and even attacked his brother at his steelmaking office. The local police submitted a long file of complaints about him.
He performed a series of stents at a mental health center where he was treated for alcoholism, depression, and bipolar disorder. At the time of his death, he was taking prescription medications to treat his mental health problems, as well as people with shakes and tremors who are suffering from Parkinson’s or who are taking antipsychotic medications.
“He wanted to win,” Nick Jovanovic said, “and he lost everything.”