Cookie Gilchrist was a professional football player for six years in the AFL for the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Denver Broncos. In his career he made four pro bowls, three first team All-Pros and one second team All-Pro. After his career, Gilchrist began having issues with his memory and struggled to take care of himself. He also became erratic and experienced mood swings and depression. Gilchrist died in 2011 as a result of bladder cancer. After his death researchers at the Boston University CTE Center diagnosed him with stage 4 (of 4) Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Gilchrist’s family shared Cookie’s story to advance CTE research and raise awareness for the effects of CTE.
"He always took a stand for the rights of others. He often stood alone in his beliefs against all odds. To me, though, he was just my dad."
A million precious moments and memories
By Jeff Gilchrist
My dad was just my dad to me. Plenty of laughter, tickling, protection and endless affection and love were given to my brother and me.
I am truly humbled as a son, and as a man, to know how many lives he touched with his sincere, undivided attention. He loved to give, share and to live in the moment. This was an important example he embodied in me.
He always took a stand for the rights of others. He often stood alone in his beliefs against all odds. To me, though, he was just my dad. His spirit and essence lives inside of me, and he is not forgotten. His soul lives on with the many stories and tales of this legendary giant among men.
And yet, he was just my dad to me. I am truly grateful for the recent discoveries relating to impact head injuries that now explain the difficult last years of his life. They affected his memories and the moments which he had no control over due to the brain trauma he suffered playing years of pro football.
My precious dad suffered in a horrible way from this trauma. In many ways it stole part of my dad from me. Yet, he is and will always be my dad. My million precious memories will continue to keep him alive for me.
I would like to thank the Concussion Legacy Foundation for their hard work and tireless effort to bring awareness of this issue to all.
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