Tony Hawk is perhaps the most high-profile skateboarder in history, but he’s also someone who has been touched by head trauma and Alzheimer’s.
“Well, my mom’s had (Alzheimer’s) for the last seven years or so, and I’ve just seen the rapid progression in the last year,” Hawk said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Obviously it hits differently to everyone, but it’s just been so hard to watch someone you love really lose themselves. They don’t have a sense of self. She cant really communicate either, so it’s hard for her to convey anything. We just kind of sit with her and try to remember her as best we can. It’s more just about being there than anything else.”
Hawk, 48, has also seen CTE affect several of his friends, including Junior Seau and Dave Mirra, both of whom committed suicide.
“I used to do events with Junior, and it was really shocking to me,” Hawk said of Seau’s 2012 suicide. “Obviously his case in particular was a huge wake-up call for awareness of this disease, and then we saw (it) with Dave Mirra as well. It’s definitely a concern. I just met recently with a specialist, a neurologist, and he was giving me a lot of information and he gave me some really good advice.”
Seau was 43 when he committed suicide. Mirra, a former BMX rider, was 41.
Hawk didn’t know that Mirra was having problems.
“I only knew Dave as a really good competitor, a really good performer,” Hawk said. “He was a guy that would give his all every single performance. I didn’t know the quiet struggles he was having. I hadn’t seen him in awhile either, but if I had known anything, I would have loved to have reached out – not that that was going to make a huge difference.”