Researchers Examine Sabres Legend Rick Martin's Brain After Death

October 5, 2011 Updated Oct 6, 2011 at 6:47 PM EDT

By Jeff Russo

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October 5, 2011 Updated Oct 6, 2011 at 6:47 PM EDT

Buffalo (WKBW.com) A study done on the brain of late Sabres legend Rick Martin found that the he was suffering from a neuro degenerative brain disorder when he died of a heart attack in Clarence last March.

Researchers at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy reported on Wednesday that Martin suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a brain disorder tied to repeated brain trauma, including concussions, such as those found in contact sports.

Martin's brain was donated for study after his death.

Martin is the third former NHL player that has been diagnosed with CTE by Dr. Ann McKee who conducted the study, but the first who did not regularly engage in fighting during his hockey career. The others were Bob Probert, and Reggie Fleming, both diagnosed after death.

The report says that the only known concussion that Martin suffered happened in 1977 when he was hooked to the ice and landed on the back of his head during a game against the New York Rangers. Martin immediately started to convulse after the incident. He was not wearing a helmet at the time.

The Martin Family did not want to comment on the report at this time, but told researchers they wanted it made public, believing that Rick Martin would have wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of brain trauma in sports and encourage efforts to make sports safer for the brain.

A report on this medical condition was the subject of a Canadian Broadcasting documentary.

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