Dead NFL player’s body to undergo tests to determine cause of suicide
Belcher committed suicide a year ago after he had a fight with his girlfriend, then went to the team and shot himself in front of them. The family hopes that the analysis of the body will determine what was the cause for erratic behaviour and sudden death of the NFL player.
Belcher was buried at Long Island Cemetery, New York and after exhumation the body was sent for tests. No location was given as to where it was moved to conduct tehm.
Belcher’ family suspect that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) could be the cause behind his sudden suicidal tendency as it is a known disease that both fits in the scenario and has been known in the NFL as a condition that players develop over time. The family believes that either that or some related complication had a role to play to drive him into ending his own life.
CTE is caused by repeated injuries and trauma to the brain which has been diagnosed in quite a few cases of players who are in contact sports.
There is but one way to make sure that someone has CTE and that can be done after the person has died. The brain is analysed for a protein known as tau, which is naturally absent from the brain and develops after repeat trauma to the brain. Several NFL players were found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy and all the cases ended up committing suicide.
CTE was first found by Doctor Bennet Omalu in NFL players and when asked about his opinion whether it could be a possible cause to cause Belcher’s behaviour, he said it could be.
"There is a reasonable probability that the (brain) tissues would have degenerated, but until you open the body up, you may not know if there would be viable tissue for reasonable analysis,” he said.
He added that there were equal chances that tau would be found in the brain of Belcher after he had been in ground for a year. Omalu said he had conducted such examinations twice.
"The exhumation and analysis has to be performed by a forensic pathologist who has the experience and expertise, otherwise it has the potential of coming to naught," he said.