Former professional football player Phillip Adams suffered from a degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), when he shot six people before killing himself in April, medical specialists said on Tuesday.
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A post-mortem examination of Adams’ brain, performed by neuropathologists at Boston University, revealed that the 32-year-old man had signs of « unusually severe » brain damage.
« Phillip Adams had an extraordinary amount of pathologies associated with the frontal lobe, the area of the brain behind the forehead, » said Ann McKee, director of the facility’s ETC Center, comparing this case to that of Aaron Hernandez, ex- New England Patriots player who was convicted of murder in 2015, before ending his days in prison two years later.
CTE, which cannot be detected in living individuals, is a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repeated head trauma. It can cause a variety of behavioral symptoms, including aggression, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, paranoia, suicidal tendencies, as well as progressive cognitive symptoms such as memory loss.
The ETC specter has haunted American football and the NFL since the early 2000s.
Several scientific studies have demonstrated a link between this cerebral degeneration and the repeated shocks to the head, concussions and other head injuries which too often mark a player’s career.
The most recent of these studies, in July 2017, notably analyzed the brain tissue of 111 players who passed through the NFL and often died prematurely: ETC was detected in 110 of them.
A prevalence that has forced the league, sued in the early 2010s by 4,500 former players or their beneficiaries, to pay compensation of a billion dollars for the victims, while modifying certain rules. Thus, since 2018, helmet-to-helmet impact is prohibited.
Adams shot dead Robert Lesslie, a 70-year-old doctor, his wife Barbara Lesslie, 69, two of their grandchildren, aged 9 and 5, and two men working on an air conditioning system at the Lesslie’s home in Rock Hill. , South Carolina, April 7, 2021.
The perpetrator of the killings was found dead soon after from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a nearby house.
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