DALLAS — In an interview with ESPN's "Outside the Lines," former Dallas Cowboys Tony Dorsett confirmed that UCLA scientists diagnosed him with signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
CTE is a progressive degenerative disease linked to depression and dementia. Dorsett, 59, was one of four former football players tested.
At the Wednesday's Child Golf Tournament, fellow former Dallas Cowboys player Timmy Newsome reacted to the news.
"I was very devastated to hear the news, but I understand why it happened," Newsome said. "Dorsett was a very tough football player. As an example, I backed him up over four years and I never started a game."
Newsome said he has numerous memories of tough hits on Dorsett during games.
The former fullback, who played with the Cowboys from 1980 to 1988, said it was a different era when they played football.
"Players had this mentality that at all costs you play," Newsome said. "So, that's the way [Dorsett] played then. I think now, doctors and trainers are more astute about the condition of concussions so they just won't ever — I don't think — bring a player out there on the field without him being 100 percent."
When asked about his thoughts on young children playing football, Newsome had a quick reply.
"Let's just put it this way, I won't let my 10 year old do it," he said.
Newsome said he worries about the impact of hits on young, developing children.
"The thing that I think that's important is to avoid the constant contact and the constant collisions at such a young age," he said.
In October, the Houston Cougars announced starting quarterback David Piland would no longer play with the university. Piland told KHOU he made the decision after suffering multiple concussions and at the recommendation of the medical staff at the University of Houston.
Piland said he was first diagnosed with a concussion at the age of 12. On Sept. 7 in Temple, Piland suffered a game-changing hit that left him with no memory of the game and with serious vision and balancing problems.
"You are in the hospital and you can’t really see straight," he told KHOU. "Can’t really see anything. You get up to go to the bathroom and you get sick just because you are moving."
The quarterback said he then made the decision not to wait and see what the results of another big hit could bring. He ended his life-long dream at the age of 22.
In March, Dorsett told WFAA's Joe Trahan he struggled with mood swings and could hardly watch a half-hour TV show.
"There was no way," he said. "I just get bored with it. I'm not following it as well."
He said he sought help at multiple hospitals and endured several surgeries to repair nerve damage.
The former running back told ESPN his ability to remember things worsens daily and he's easily agitated.
"It's painful for my daughters to say they're scared of me," he said.
In 2012, Dorsett and 300 other former players joined together in a lawsuit against the NFL.
Newsome said he believes lawsuits such as the one filed by Dorsett serve as a good reminder that "collisions are basically at a cost."