NFL Hall of Famer continues battle with brain disease, sees progress

For several months FOX 46 has been following the journey of NFL Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure who lives in Charlotte and suffers from a degenerative brain disease.

It's a disease some suspect may have been caused by the game he loves.

As FOX 46 has shown in previous reports on Joe, he undergoes regular treatments to slow down the effects of it all, and Wednesday night the results are in on just how effective they've been.

"I didn't even realize, I was like hyper, I mean really hyper. I could never sit still, always running around and scatterbrained," Joe said.

What the NFL Hall of Fame Lineman described has been his daily routine since retiring from football nearly 30 years ago.

"As your brain ages, problems occur," Joe explained.

It's believed that Joe has taken hundreds of thousands of hits to his head which resulted in him being diagnosed with living chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease stemming in part from repeated head injury.

Learning this, Joe immediately went out in search of a way to slow the deterioration of his brain.

"I've tried all kinds of things. A hyperbaric chamber which I think helped a little bit. Magnetic mats which you lay on them. I've tired everything but this, and my wife will agree, has changed me the most of anything," Joe explained.

Over the last few months FOX 46 has followed Joe's journey with neurofeedback treatment at the Carolina Healthspan Institute under the direction of Dr. Ronald Brown.

"I have to say that's the most dramatic I've seen," Dr. Brown said.

The Hall of Famer's before and after results are stunning.

"This is Joe's pre nuerofeedback quantitative EEG and again it illustrates a lot of areas of high power, low power and the lines that you see illustrate a lack of connectivity. At the halfway point they were pretty excited and I could feel a difference coming on. After 12 weeks of nuerofeedback he had 24 sessions of nuerofeedback and as you can see there is significant resolution of the high power in the beta zone and significant resolution of his low power. When the final test or whatever the final result, I knew I was getting better," Dr. Brown said.

Joe's treatment focused on a huge portion of its time on improving his sleep which had a direct impact on emotions, like depression, anxiety, irritability, and aggressive behavior.

"All of those things are the most dramatic things that the patient notices and people in their family notice. My daughter-in-law actually asked my wife if I'm on medication or something because I'm a lot calmer than I was. This is a non-medication way to resolve problems not just put a band aid on it. You can actually resolve the underlying disease process," Joe said.

Dr. Brown said this is by no means "a cure" but what this treatment does is give his patients, like Joe, their life back.

"You have a set number of sessions and you're done, and you're treated possibly for life."

As for Joe and what he plans on doing next...he takes a simple prayer with him to church every day.

"God put me in a position where I can help the most people I can. This is it. I'm willing to do anything to see if we can get people better and not just football players either," Joe said.