Last year, tragedy struck when former Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Jovan Belcher violently killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, before fatally shooting himself at a practice facility next to Arrowhead Stadium. The news made headlines around the nationwide as the search for an explanation grew. Yet, there is one place everyone forgot to look.
This week, it was announced that Belcher’s body has been recently exhumed so that his brain can be examined for signs of the degenerative brain condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a condition linked to repeated concussions. CTE has also been associated with anxiety, depression, cognitive deficiencies, and behavioral problems.
If evidence is found, it could potentially provide answers to why the argument with Perkins turned deadly as well as empowering the movement to protect the brains of football players. However, there could potentially be complications in finding the evidence in Belcher’s brain.
It has been more than a year since Belcher was buried, and the decomposition of the body could present roadblocks in identifying the signs of CTE. Often, the families of deceased former professional football players are asked to donate the players’ brains for research, but an attorney representing the Belcher family said the family wasn’t contacted for donation. Dr. Bennet Omalu also believes the local medical examiner should have done tests for the condition at the time of autoposy.
Omalu, an expert on the brain condition and one of the first to identify it in a former NFL player, said he “would bet one mont’s salary that (Belcher) had CTE.” He remains hopeful for the impending examination on Belcher’s brain, however. Omalu said scientific findings are still potentially possible, citing the clear evidence of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases during autopsies on bodies that had been buried far longer than Belcher’s.