Former Ohio State and NFL running back Chris “Beanie” Wells revealed on his radio show on 97.1 The Fan that he is suffering from a brain injury he attributes to football.
Wells had been absent from the morning show he hosts with Tim Hall. Monday morning, he revealed the reason.
“I have some plaque separation,” he said. “It shows that you experienced some sort of traumatic brain injury, and obviously that traumatic brain injury for me came from football.
“Not only that, they had some cells tacked on to the separated plaque that I needed to get under control.”
Plaque is the substance that forms in the brain as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) develops. The disease results in loss of cognitive function and can include mood swings. It can be diagnosed conclusively only after death.
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Wells, 29, was diagnosed in California, where he has been receiving treatment.
“I had to step away for a little bit,” he said on his program. “I’m still not out of the woods, but it’s coming. I’m hopeful.”
Wells said he would not return to his show on a full-time basis. He said he was hoping to appear once a week.
Wells’ symptoms are consistent with those dealing with football-related brain injuries.
“I was getting headaches,” he said. “My speech was getting a little bit indifferent and also I was forgetting the littlest things.
“The stumbling over the words, that’s normal (for me). The pausing and having to really think about what I’m getting ready to say because I’m searching for the words, that wasn’t me. I always knew what to say.”
Wells, an Akron native, played for Ohio State from 2006-08. A rare blend of speed and power, Wells ran for 3,382 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Wells was a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals and played four seasons before an Achilles tendon tear ended his career.