NFL Player Jovan Belcher’s Body Exhumed for Brain Exam

Jovan Belcher and his daughter, Zoey; Zoey with girlfriend Kasandra Perkins

In an effort to find signs of brain damage from repeated concussions, the family of former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher has requested the exhumation of his body a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself, USA Today reports.

The family's attorney, Dirk Vandever, said that Belcher’s body was exhumed Friday at North Babylon Cemetery in the Long Island, N.Y., community of Bay Shore, the report shows.


Findings could show whether Belcher was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy when he killed long-time girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, with whom he had an infant daughter, in their home last December. He then reportedly drove to the Chiefs' practice facility and shot himself in the head in the parking lot.

Bennet Omalu, an expert on the destructive brain condition, told USA Today that he "would bet one month's salary that (Belcher) had CTE" and the local medical examiner should have performed a test for it. But a spokesman for Jackson County, Fla., told USA Today that the medical examiner's job is to determine cause of death and that removal of an organ or tissue strictly for research isn't allowed.

CTE, a progressive disease, is linked to multiple concussions. In recent years, it has grabbed headlines after the deaths of some former professional athletes, and lawsuits filed against the NFL by others worried about the still unclear toll of a sport that can bring repeated blows to the head, the report shows. Symptoms include memory problems, behavior changes including aggression and eventually dementia.

Read more at USA Today.

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