Ty Pozzobon, a 25-year-old professional bull rider from Merritt, British Columbia, Canada died
January 9, 2017, from suicide.
Pozzobon’s family suspected that his death was the result of repeated head injuries and concussions
sustained during his rodeo career. They generously donated Ty’s brain to the University of Washington
School of Medicine Neuropathology Core in Seattle. An image-guided neuropathological examination
of Ty’s brain was carried out by Dr. C. Dirk Keene (Nancy and Buster Alvord Endowed Chair in
Neuropathology and Leader of the Neuropathology and Targeted Molecular Testing Core) and Dr.
Christine MacDonald (Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery).
After thorough examination of Ty’s brain, Dr. Keene concluded that Ty had neuropathologic changes
diagnostic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Further neuropathologic examination also
confirmed evidence of chronic traumatic axonal injury that was consistent with traumatic brain injury
identified by an MRI completed before his death.
Ty Pozzobon is the first confirmed case of CTE in a professional bull rider.
Links to interviews with Drs. Keene and Mac Donald are below: