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Kathie Lee Gifford, widow of Frank Gifford, says NFL legend ‘was dying long before he died’

Frank Gifford is widely regarded as one of the best players in NFL history. He is a six-time All-Pro, spent his entire career with the New York Giants, and is also a member of the team’s Ring of Honor.

Gifford died of natural causes at the age of 84 in 2015 at his home in Connecticut.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer’s family previously announced that signs of the degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) were found in his brain after his death.

Longtime television personality Kathie Lee Gifford, along with Gifford and Gifford’s son Cody, detailed their experiences with Frank in his final days.

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Kathie Lee Gifford and Frank Gifford, pictured here in 2008, have been married for nearly 30 years and have two children. (Richard Corkery)

Kathie Lee and Cody spoke to People ahead of the commercial release of the documentary “Requiem for a Running Back.”

“The NFL gave my dad life,” Cody told People. “But there was also danger.”

What is CTE?

“Within a minute or two…he forgot everything I had just said,” Gifford’s son said, recalling the last night he spent with Gifford.

Frank Gifford moved to the broadcast booth shortly after retiring from the NFL. In the 1980s, he became one of the most famous voices on “Monday Night Football,” and in 1985 he handled play-by-play duties for the Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins. did.

Kathie Lee Gifford and her family pose for a photo

Kathie Lee Gifford, Cody, Cassidy, Frank Gifford. (Bruce Grikas/FilmMagic)

“Requiem for a Running Back” is the story of former football player Lewis Carpenter. After Lewis’ death, his brain was donated to researchers and it was determined that he had an advanced form of CTE. Gifford appears in the documentary.

The film is currently available on Amazon Prime Video and various other streaming services. Kathie Lee and Cody hope the commercial release of the documentary will raise awareness about CTE.

From out kick: First professional female athlete diagnosed with CTE

The Boston University CTE Center has studied this disease in detail and describes it as a “progressive disease seen in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions and asymptomatic non-concussive concussions.” “This is a degenerative brain disease.” Head. “

Kathie Lee says her late husband’s brain scan left an unforgettable impact.

Kathie Lee Gifford and son Cody pose for a photo

Kathie Lee Gifford and son Kody Gifford on April 5, 2019. (Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photobank/NBCUniversal)

“It was heartbreaking to see,” she told People. “We found that there was damage to the hippocampus, which is the center of short-term memory. … This is a cumulative blow that a person takes over their lifetime.”

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Cody briefly played football when he was a walk-on for the USC Trojans, but an ankle injury derailed his playing career. He said he is more aware of some of the risks that come with playing football.

“When you grow up loving soccer all your life, it’s very addicting,” he says. “I’ve lived it and breathed it. It’s hard to walk away from that.”

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