Dolphins legend Nick Buoniconti speaks out on battle with dementia, football injuries

MIAMI (WSVN) - A Miami Dolphins legend is speaking out about his battle with dementia and his injuries resulting from playing football.

Nick Buoniconti played with the Miami Dolphins for seven years and was even a part of the 1972 perfect season. However, Buoniconti is now battling dementia and a host of other ailments.

“I got neurocognitive and neuromotive deficiencies, and they’re only getting worse. They’re not getting better,” Buoniconti told Sports Illustrated. “It’s just a damning, damning way to finish a career.”

Although Buoniconti is just going public with his health, his former teammates have known about it for some time.

“The thing that’s most frustrating to him is to have the knowledge that he has a problem and not being able to do anything about it,” said former teammate Dick Anderson. “You know, that he can’t remember things and that he can’t concentrate.”

Buoniconti’s demise began four years ago. “I was diagnosed with many concussions — at least 10,” Buoniconti told Sports Illustrated. “Super Bowl VI against the Dallas Cowboys, I was knocked silly, and I don’t remember much about the game.”

Buoniconti’s family shared a video of the former player struggling to put on a shirt, demonstrating the extent of his illness. Now, at 76 years old, Buoniconti said he feels like a child.

“Nick always said that football gave him his greatest joys and his saddest moments,” said Buoniconti’s wife Lynn. “Now, it has basically taken Nick’s life as he knew it away from him.”

“[Chronic traumatic encephalopathy] is something that the NFL doesn’t recognize until you die,” Buoniconti said.

Nick’s son Marc spoke on his father’s condition. “This has been my dad’s reality for a while now, and it’s been a frustrating and heartbreaking journey to see him like this after all he’s done to help others breaks my heart and makes me want to do everything I can to find some answers for him and the countless other athletes dealing with these issues,” he said in a statement.

Marc also added that his family asks for the public’s continued support as they try to help Nick fight his battle.

Buoniconti said that he and his family intend to donate his brain to science for research upon his passing.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.