WESTBOROUGH, MA January 20, 2018 More is becoming known about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. It is now able to be diagnosed prior to the death of the patient by identifying unique protein markers in the blood of those who have sustained multiple brain injuries. Former professional wrestler Chris Benoit was found to have CTE after killing his wife and son before killing himself in 2007. But murder or other violence against others has not typically been associated with CTE until recently. As recently as summer, 2017, the brain of former N.E. Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was also found to have signs of severe CTE raising the specter of its possible impact on his violent life and eventual death by suicide. I have posted post-mortem photos of his brain first published on the Boston University site in a prior blog on my Concussion site (Sefton, 2017). See that post by clicking here. It is now understood that an athlete need not have sustained numerous concussions in his career to be found to have CTE at time of death. More so, the accumulation of repeated blows to the head – subconcussive force – is being implicated in the etiology of this complex disease process. So contact sports like football, rugby and ice hockey are being closely scrutinized by experts in concussion, athletic training and sports medicine. Researchers at BU School of Medicine have reported that a protein known as CLL11 may be elevated in the brain and spinal fluid of athletes with a history of brain injury. It holds some promise of being able to diagnose athletes before death. This protein leads to elevate Tau protein a known cause of progressive brain damage associated with dementia.
In 2014, The K.C. Star reported that analysis of Belcher’s brain after he’d been exhumed revealed a key signature of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, best known as CTE, a degenerative brain disease found to cause dementia, confusion, depression and aggression). “Belcher’s murder-suicide is the worst possible example of domestic violence, and these findings come as the NFL is under attack for its handling of domestic violence.” (Mellinger, 2014 Kansas City Star).
“CTE has been found to cause erratic and sometimes tragic behavior by some NFL players, perhaps most notably Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who killed himself last year. The disease, only recently diagnosable before death, has often been found in former and longtime football players.” Mellinger, 2014 K.C. Star
Riding a bicycle is a leading cause of brain injury in childhood. Recently, CTE has not been diagnosable before death. It has been found over and over in former and longtime football players. Domestic violence behaviors cut across all socioeconomic strata. They germinate in an environment of secrecy often early in courtship. During this time abusive spouse slowly isolates his intimate partner from her support – family, friends, finances. “In doing so there is a subtle but undeniable manipulation of control – usually coupled with threats and intimidation. There is growing awareness that red flag behaviors precede DV and domestic violence homicide. Things like pathological jealousy, forced sexual contact, manipulating friendships, detachment from members of immediate family and others are the early signs of domestic violence.” (Sefton, 2012) Some believe that the most significant pre-incident red flag is whether or not the victim truly believes she is going to be killed by her intimate partner one day and that these victims are at most risk of death.
Sefton, M (2012) Athletes and Celebrities Not Immuned: Kansas City Chief’s player kills wife and self in act of DVH, Blog post December 1, 2014, taken December 28, 2017.
Sefton, M. (2017). Brain and Behavior: B.U. scientist says Aaron Hernandez had CTE. Blog post, Nov 19, 2017 Taken December 28, 2017
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article2296030.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/vahe-gregorian/article187534063.html#storylink=cpy