Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself at the team facility in 2012, showed signs of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) when his body was exhumed for further testing a year after his death.
This report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines details what doctors found when they studied Belcher’s brain posthumously.
In a report obtained by “Outside the Lines,” Dr. Piotr Kozlowski writes that he detected neurofibrillary tangles of tau protein, which is identified with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The tangles were distributed throughout Belcher’s hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with memory, learning and emotion.
If you remember correctly, Belcher shot and killed his girfriend Kasandra Perkins then drove to the Chiefs facility and shot himself in front of team officials in the parking lot. At that time, it was one of the most disturbing off-field situations in the history of the league. The former Maine standout had been a starter and popular member of the team for a few years at the time of the incident, which stunned an unsuspecting NFL audience.
CTE is an affliction that many former NFL players have been diagnosed with posthumously. It’s caused by repeated blows to the head. And according to various studies, can lead to dementia, memory loss and depression. Though, it must be noted that there hasn’t been a lot of talk about CTE causing violence directed at others. If Belcher is indeed diagnosed with CTE, this could be a major turning point in the entire situation involving the affliction and concussions.
Multiple former NFL players are currently in the midst of suing the NFL for its handling of head injuries in the past. As part of a likely settlement between the ex-players and the league, Belcher’s family would receive $4 million from the NFL.
This information obtained by Outside the Lines stems from a wrongful death lawsuit that has been field against the league after the then 25-year-old old killed his girlfriend and himself.
the lawyers representing Belcher’s daughter have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Chiefs on her behalf. Belcher’s mother, with different attorneys, filed an almost identical suit.
It will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out. Indicating that CTE (caused by multiple blows to the head) could have played a role in Belcher’s actions of nearly two years ago is taking this whole concussion argument to an entirely new level. And in reality, it could cause some major issues for the league in the court of public opinion moving forward.