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You are here News Of Special Interest Football’s toll: At least seven members of 1972 Dolphins affected by cognitive impairment

Football’s toll: At least seven members of 1972 Dolphins affected by cognitive impairment

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Nick Buonicont and others affected by footballThey called him Captain Crunch, and the name was fitting. Mike Kolen packed a punch.

Now, 45 years after the Dolphins' No-Name Defense ran through the 1972 season undefeated, Kolen and his perfect teammates are tied together again. But instead of celebration, there’s heartache.

South Florida’s most legendary team has become a cautionary tale, a poignant symbol of the concussion saga that threatens the future of America’s favorite sport.

“Within the last month or so, I've been diagnosed with the initial stages of Alzheimer's,” Kolen, a starting linebacker on Miami’s two Super Bowl-winning teams, told the Miami Herald.

And was football the cause?

“I think that's about the only way I'd have cognitive issues,” replied Kolen, 69, who has no family history of dementia.

Kolen's story is not unique for Miami's most historic team.

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