Former Colorado Buffaloes running back Rashaan Salaam's legacy will help fund potentially life-saving brain studies.
His 1994 Heisman Trophy sold for $399,608 at auction Saturday, with a portion donated to benefit chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) research. CTE is a brain disease linked to former football players who later struggle to control behavior and make decisions.
Salaam took his own life in 2016 by gunshot wound to the head, the Boulder County Coroner's Office confirmed. He was 42. Salaam's brother, Jabali Alaji, told USA Today he believed Salaam suffered from symptoms commonly related to CTE — memory loss, depression, mood swings — but the family later declined the option for CTE testing prior to his autopsy.
Salaam rushed for 2,055 yards and 33 touchdowns in his junior season at CU en route to winning the Heisman. Salaam sold it in 2013 to a sports memorabilia dealer, who then resold it to its current owner the same year, according to SCP auctions, which provided a letter from Salaam acknowledging the 2013 sale.
The trophy was sold by Tyler Tysdal, a Denver real estate investor.
The $399,608 selling price is a record amount for the purchase of a Heisman Trophy, according to ESPN.