For the past year, former NFL player Scott Bolzan -- who in 2008, slipped fell and lost nearly all of his memory -- has been sharing his harrowing tale of regaining his life back and promoting his book My Life, Deleted. But after a series of highly publicized interviews, neurologists are coming out questioning the probability of such extreme memory loss.
When Bolzan regained consciousness after a spill in his office landed him in the hospital, he could not remember his wife, the fact that he had played for the Cleveland Browns or even his own name.
The New York Post now reports one of Bolzan's doctor as saying that he may be faking such extreme symptoms:
He made the rounds of TV talk shows last week promoting a memoir he co-authored with his wife, Joan, titled “My Life, Deleted.”
But a doctor who examined Bolzan after his fall told The Post that Bolzan was possibly “feigning his alleged memory deficits,” citing the “implausibility” of his purported symptoms.
He says it’s questionable that an injury to one part of the brain could affect all the different memory circuits spread throughout the organ -- while his cognitive function and ability to make new memories remained unharmed. Bolzan didn’t seem to have residual cognitive problems; he relearned how to drive, play golf, and even received a gun license in 2010.
Dr. William Barr, chief of neuropsychology at NYU Langone Medical Center, called this type of memory loss “Hollywood amnesia.”
“Not knowing what a TV is, not knowing what a cellphone is, this is all inconsistent with any known form of brain damage,” added Dr. Joel Morgan, an expert in medical malingering.
Total autobiographical loss is “automatically a red flag for considering a severe personality disorder or a plain-vanilla malin-gerer,” said Dr. Manfred Greiffenstein, a neuropsychologist who has not examined Bolzan.
“What made Bolzan’s claims unusual from the start was its violation of bedrock principles: Old memories are more resistant to brain damage than fresh ones,” said Greiffenstein. “But here we see the opposite -- well-established memories wiped out, but recent memory preserved.”
Additionally, the Daily Mail reported that Bolzan filed for bankruptcy in 2002, sued the property management company that own the building where he fell, and did not respond to accusations about his unconventional memory loss.
Watch Bolzan and his family tell their tale in 2009: