THE NAVIGATION TOOL TO HISTORICAL PAGES ON THIS WEB SITE ARE AT THE TOP OF THIS SCREEN SHOWN IN WHITE FONT ON A BURNT ORANGE BACKGROUND.
THE SITES ARE "TLSN", "SPORTS", "MISSIONS", "ARTICLES" , "Events", "Fan site", LOST TOO SOON", "SENTRY", and Donate
Larry Webb (68-72) died this past Sunday 2/3/19 in a hospital bed in the loving arms of his wife Mary Jane. Photos were taken in 2017.
Larry Webb (68-72) died this past Sunday 2/3/19 in a hospital bed in the loving arms of his wife Mary Jane. You may have known that LARRY had been suffering with CTE for the past 4 or 5 years. Really not able to leave his house, daily nausea, vertigo and mental decline. He ultimately died from Renal Cell carcinoma and was in hospice since his diagnosis in October. Mary Jane had him at home until the Wednesday before his death. He was in tremendous pain up until his death so his passing was a blessing to him and MJ. His brain has already been sent to Boston for analysis and results will be available in about 6 months. His wife only asked for continuing prayers and I told her we could do that. Really going to miss Lawrence of Angleton, “Old Catfish Mouth”.
Tommy Nobis had the worse kind if CTE. Please click on link below.
The San Antonio Express News article by Mike Finger June 2, 2018 .
This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school. (Dr. Ann McKee/BU via AP) less
Mildred Whittier still has not made it to the inside of a courtroom. It has been four years since she filed a lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of her trailblazing brother, who battles dementia almost five decades after he became the first black football letterman in Texas Longhorns history.
Still, she waits.
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Article in Dallas Morning News- Kevin Sherrington in 2015
Greg Ploetz hasn’t played a football game in more than 40 years, but the scar still shows. An undersized All-Southwest Conference defensive tackle at Texas, he earned it. A “warrior,” one teammate called him. Now, at 65, Ploetz couldn’t so much as handle the crowd noise at the Big Shootout. Conversation confuses him. Walking is sometimes terrifying. In his tortured mind these days, a crack in the floor looms like a leap across a deep, dark crevasse.
Ploetz — pronounced Plets — suffers from what neurologists call “mixed dementia,” the probable result of head trauma from his days as a 5-11, 205-pound lineman at Sherman High and Texas. Doctors can’t tell his wife, Deb, if he’s a victim of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, the progressive degenerative brain disease linked with multiple concussions, harrowing news reports and a lawsuit against the NFL.
One of Greg’s last paintings while struggling with CTE signed by 285 DKR players
Julius whittier by Millie Whittier
UT ex Julius Whittier battles Alzheimer's as his sister takes on the NCAA
Mike Finger Sep. 16, 2017 Updated: Sep. 16, 2017 8:33 p.m.
Mildred Whittier did not need to know.
Looking back on it, almost five decades later, she can appreciate her youthful naiveté as a gift of kindness from her big brother. She was only a sophomore at Highlands High School when Julius Whittier went off to college in Austin, and she had no idea he was doing anything out of the ordinary.
Julius was going to attend school, and he was going to play football. Simple as that.
Even if he understood everything that went along with integrating the Texas program and becoming the first black letterman in Longhorns history, there was no reason to tell his younger sister.
"I didn't understand the enormity," Mildred said. "The fact that he was the first African-American didn't move me one way or another. I wasn't caught up in him doing anything historic. He was just my brother."
Now, all of these years after he left his mark on the football field and in the courtroom, there is something Julius does not need to know. By not mentioning it, Mildred is returning a gift to him and keeping him unaware of another enormity.
Julius has Alzheimer's disease.
"I never can tell him that," Mildred said. "I don't think he has made the connection, that you have dementia, that you have Alzheimer's. He says he's forgetful. He says, 'I have to rely on my sister.' "
Pushing for change
In a way, others are depending on Mildred, too. In 2014, she filed a class-action lawsuit on Julius' behalf against the NCAA in U.S. District Court. The suit seeks up to $50 million in damages for players from 1960-2014 who did not go on to play in the NFL and who have been diagnosed with a latent brain injury or disease.
That case is separate from a proposed settlement in which the NCAA agreed to set aside $75 million for brain trauma research and testing for current and former athletes. But that settlement offers no financial compensation to injured players, and the goal of Mildred's lawsuit is to establish a fund for the supplemental needs of those suffering from the effects of brain trauma.
The lawsuit claims the NCAA "was fully aware of" and "concealed the dangers of" head impacts in football.
As Mildred watches how the 66-year-old Julius' mind has deteriorated, she remains convinced his days as an offensive lineman and tight end caused it.
"No doubt at all," Mildred said. "He continually spoke of how he was trained to block, using his head. For someone who was as brilliant and as vital as my brother, it's just sad. I've cried so much, I don't think I can cry anymore."
Mildred's cried with former colleagues and teammates of Julius who have stopped by the north Texas memory care facility where he now lives. She can tell he realizes he's supposed to know these old friends, but he doesn't, so he just smiles and laughs.
She has cried with Deb Ploetz, the widow of one of Julius' UT teammates. Two years ago, Greg Ploetz died at the age of 66, and was found to have been suffering from Stage 4 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Deb, who told the Denver Post her husband would have chosen never to play football "if he knew he would suffer and die like he did," filed a separate lawsuit against the NCAA last January.
"She wanted to stay in touch with Julius and stay in touch with me," Mildred said of Deb. "I think she needed somebody to relate to."
What Mildred and Deb understand is how brain conditions overwhelm not only the patients but also everyone who love them. It begins with a couple of troubling signs, and then a few sleepless nights, and eventually it becomes too much for a man or a woman or a family to bear on its own.
A quick descent
For Mildred, it started in 2012, when the leadership team of Julius' law firm asked her to attend a meeting. He had been in private practice for more than two decades following his stint as a Dallas County assistant district attorney.
He was only 61 at the time, a year away from his long overdue induction into the Longhorns' Hall of Honor. The memories of his days at UT, where as a freshman in 1969 he dealt with the often-difficult circumstances of becoming a racial pioneer and then earned his historic varsity letter in 1970, were still vivid.
But other parts of his mind were slipping, and his fellow attorneys noticed. He would drive to a lunch or a meeting, and wasn't sure where he was supposed to go after that. His bosses told Mildred it might be best if he stepped away from the job.
For a while, Julius continued to live at his home in Oak Cliff, not far from Mildred's work as a systems analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. She would stop by to eat lunch with him every day, and before long she was attending to some of his hygienic needs, too.
"He started to wander," Mildred said. "He was not able to cook on his own safely, manage himself. I suspected (Alzheimer's) but I didn't want to face up to it. Telling a brother that has been so full of vitality his whole life, it was not easy for me."
Then came a fire at Julius' home, and Mildred used that as a reason to get him to see a doctor. She told him he'd been through a lot of trauma and needed to get "checked up."
He agreed, reluctantly, and Mildred's fears were confirmed. He had early-onset Alzheimer's, and things were only going to get worse.
For a while Julius lived with her in Plano, but in 2016 he moved to the memory care facility. One of his former UT teammates, who has visited the home but asked not to be identified because of the pending lawsuit, confirmed Julius no longer recognizes him.
For the future
Mildred believes this can be prevented. She says one of the main reasons for her suit is because "football is big-time, and we have to do what we can to make sure more people don't suffer through this."
When she filed the suit, Julius knew about it, and was all for it. She says he told her he was glad to be in a position to address the problem, and hopefully to find a solution for those who followed him.
He is not aware of the legal proceedings anymore, though. He does not realize he is suffering from a terrible, cruel disease. Medication keeps him drowsy most of the time, and Mildred says his spirits seldom get lifted.
"I am so happy to say that when he sees me, he lights up," she said. "But then he starts crying. Deep down inside, he understands he might be missing something."
He does not need to know what it is.
Only the rest of us do.