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Ex-NFL player blames DUI charge on dementia and faulty test

It’s not uncommon to hear that an athlete or former athlete is arrested for driving under the influence. While many may be fascinated by watching the mighty fall it’s possible that much of the impairment is not their fault.

Recently, a former NFL player was arrested on DUI charges. He played in the late 60s and 70s, a time when helmet regulation was less stringent as it is currently. Due to brain injuries sustained on the football field, many other players have experienced some dementia symptoms that can impair driving. While the former player admits to drinking on the day of his arrest, he believes it is the injury resulting from his football career, not the alcohol that is responsible for any impairment he had on the road.

In his particular case, his blood alcohol tests have come into question, and were tested to be at 0.08, just barely at the legal limit for a DUI. That number, however, is reportedly not credible, as the breathalyzer test used during the investigation was not accurate, according to the ex-player’s defense.

While driving under the influence of alcohol is not advisable, driving with low levels of alcohol is not unheard of, and consuming alcohol is not the only thing that can cause impaired driving. Various medical conditions and other distractions also play a part in causing accidents and these conditions need to be investigated and dealt with as well, rather than always making the DUI the scapegoat in all cases. By getting to the bottom of all reasons for traffic accidents there’s a better chance of preventing more accidents from occurring in the future.

Source: The Washington Post, “Former Redskin Rickie Harris convicted of drunk driving,” Justin Jouvenal, June 19, 2012

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