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Old 09-29-2014, 12:34 PM  
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OTL: Belchers brain showed signs of CTE

Outside The LInes | September 29, 2014
The brain of former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher -- the 25-year-old player who shot and killed his girlfriend in 2012 before committing suicide hours later -- showed signs of pervasive brain damage like that found in other deceased NFL players, according to a neuropathologist.

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.


Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports
Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, multiple times before killing himself at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 1, 2012.
Dozens of former NFL players have been diagnosed posthumously with CTE, a neurodegenerative disease linked to dementia, memory loss and depression. The disease, researchers say, is triggered by repeated head trauma.

On Dec. 1, 2012, Belcher shot and killed girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his then-3-month-old daughter. Belcher then drove to the Chiefs practice facility, where he shot himself in front of team officials in the parking lot. While the murder-suicide reignited the debate over athletes and guns, it also increased the focus on a frequently overlooked issue at the time: the NFL's domestic violence problem.

Belcher's body was exhumed one year after his death, and his brain examined two weeks later. Kozlowski was hired to diagnose the brain by court-appointed Kansas City attorneys who represent the interests of Belcher's daughter. Belcher's mother, Cheryl Shepherd, initiated the process of exhuming her son's body in order to have his brain studied, attorney Dirk Vandever said.

Vandever declined to comment about why his law firm released Kozlowski's findings now, almost nine months after the diagnosis. "Outside the Lines" requested copies of images of Belcher's brain to send to another neuropathologist for independent analysis, but that request was denied.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and co-director of the North Shore Neurological Institute in Chicago, did not study Belcher's brain, but said of the possible findings: "It is of great interest. Violence against others is not typically part of the CTE picture. But it was in the case of [former professional] wrestler Chris Benoit. It would be nice to have these findings corroborated.

"If correct, they're very compelling."

If it can be shown that Belcher did have CTE, Belcher's daughter and mother, together, would be eligible for up to $4 million under the proposed concussion settlement between the NFL and former players. Furthermore, 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.

Among the lawsuits' allegations is that Belcher was knocked unconscious during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009 and did not receive adequate treatment. The lawsuits also refer to a November 2012 game against the Cincinnati Bengals when, the lawsuits allege, Belcher "suffered what should have been recognized as an acute concussion." However, the lawsuit continues, "despite exhibiting obvious symptoms, Decedent was never removed from play for evaluation and recovery." The lawsuits also claim Belcher exhibited signs of CTE, including changes in his mood and behavior.

Kozlowski, through Vandever, was not made available for comment. According to the American Board of Pathology, he is certified in Anatomic Pathology and Neuropathology. He was formerly a program director at the NIH Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Maryland. Kozlowski serves as the dean of research and pathology professor at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City.

Vandever said Belcher's mother had the idea of having her son's brain studied after reading multiple reports about football players and CTE. He declined to discuss why Kozlowski was chosen as opposed to researchers who are more experienced in the study of CTE and football players -- those from Boston University and the National Institutes of Health, for example.

As for Belcher's brain being examined slightly more than a year after his death, Kozlowski's report refers to some brain decomposition, with certain parts better preserved than others. Bailes said it is possible to find evidence of tau protein and CTE-like changes a year after a death.

Bailes, who has studied the connection between football players and head injuries, worked on the case of Andre Waters, the former Philadelphia Eagles safety who committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. "Even in this case of a gunshot wound to his brain, it was possible to diagnose him with CTE," Bailes said of Waters.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:58 PM   #3
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In ten years, you will care more about Sporting KC than you will the Chiefs. Football is dying. Futbol is growing.

At least Kansas City is ahead of the curve for once in its life.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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While this is easy enough to dismiss as non-news, I'm afraid it has much significance in how this sport will be played in the future--across all levels of competition.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:00 PM   #5
Marcellus Marcellus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saphojunkie View Post
In ten years, you will care more about Sporting KC than you will the Chiefs. Football is dying. Futbol is growing.

At least Kansas City is ahead of the curve for once in its life.
Except the fans that drive the league and make all the $ possible, they don't care about this stuff. They don't.

And players aren't going to want to not make millions of $$ so I doubt they are going to stop playing football. I don't see it.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:08 PM   #6
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So, my question is...what about average joes..that work in other intense fields? Has anybody ever analyzed their brains postmortem to see if they have any signs of CTE?
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saphojunkie View Post
In ten years, you will care more about Sporting KC than you will the Chiefs. Football is dying. Futbol is growing.

At least Kansas City is ahead of the curve for once in its life.
Per wikipedia about your beloved futbol

In 2012, Patrick Grange a semi-pro soccer player, was diagnosed in an autopsy with Stage 2 CTE with motor neuron disease. "The fact that Patrick Grange was a prolific header is important," Christopher Nowinski, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, said in an e-mail. "We need a larger discussion around at what age we introduce headers, and how we set limits to exposure once it is introduced."[61] Grange played soccer at high school; college at Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico; in the Premier Development League; for Albuquerque Asylum and Chicago Fire Premier. He died of ALS at age 29 in 2012 with a posthumous diagnosis of CTE.[62]
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saphojunkie View Post
In ten years, you will care more about Sporting KC than you will the Chiefs. Football is dying. Futbol is growing.

At least Kansas City is ahead of the curve for once in its life.
4

Riiiiiiiiight
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWillie View Post
Per wikipedia about your beloved futbol

In 2012, Patrick Grange a semi-pro soccer player, was diagnosed in an autopsy with Stage 2 CTE with motor neuron disease. "The fact that Patrick Grange was a prolific header is important," Christopher Nowinski, co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute, said in an e-mail. "We need a larger discussion around at what age we introduce headers, and how we set limits to exposure once it is introduced."[61] Grange played soccer at high school; college at Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico; in the Premier Development League; for Albuquerque Asylum and Chicago Fire Premier. He died of ALS at age 29 in 2012 with a posthumous diagnosis of CTE.[62]
Well, that should end that discussion.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:21 PM   #10
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I doubt there are many players, aside from kickers, who don't have some kind of head trauma. It's just a part of the game.

Not saying that should draw awareness away from this serious medical issue, but it doesn't excuse Belcher going crazy. Who knows if he would have done it anyway if he wasn't an NFL player and thought his girlfriend was cheating?
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by saphojunkie View Post
In ten years, you will care more about Sporting KC than you will the Chiefs. Football is dying. Futbol is growing.

At least Kansas City is ahead of the curve for once in its life.
Give it a ****ing rest already. I'd rather watch a ****ing TV test pattern for 3 hours than a soccer game.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:25 PM   #12
ChiefsChoke010414 ChiefsChoke010414 is offline
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Give it a ****ing rest already. I'd rather watch a ****ing TV test pattern for 3 hours than a soccer game.
I'm glad the rest of the world doesn't agree with you. I suppose **** them too?
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:33 PM   #13
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Give it a ****ing rest already. I'd rather watch a ****ing TV test pattern for 3 hours than a soccer game.
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:34 PM   #14
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:35 PM   #15
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Nice of them to release this on a Monday before we are on MNF. Well done PR and attorney, well done.
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