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Letters to the Editor — April 9, 2021
The former NFL player who killed five people in a South Carolina murder-suicide on Thursday will be posthumously examined for a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to football head trauma and irrational behavior, a new report said.
The family of Phillip Adams gave doctors the green light to test for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, a condition commonly associated with football players, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The York County coroner’s office in South Carolina will conduct the testing, in conjunction with Boston University, where a 2017 study found that most football players suffered some degree of the disease.
Results could take up to six months, the newspaper reported.
Adams, 32, forced his way into his former doctor’s home on Thursday, killing him, his wife and their two young grandchildren.
The athlete also fatally shot a contractor outside the doctor’s home before killing himself.
Adams’ six years in the NFL were marred by injuries. In his 2012 season with Oakland, Adams reportedly suffered two concussions during a three-game span.
Dr. Hallie Zwibel, the director of New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Sports Medicine, told The Post on Thursday that it’s possible Adams developed CTE during his career.
“He could have been taking hits all the time [and] only wound up with only one or two concussions, but the cumulative hits he has taken is so many that it could have made him develop a degenerative brain disease,” Zwibel said.
Zwibel said the disease might potentially help explain what led Adams to carry out the bloody rampage.
“It really affects people to an enormous degree in their ability to enjoy relationships and friendships, to really function in the world. They get very frustrated, understandably, with the deficits that they’re having,” Zwibel said.
“People become more impulsive and reckless in their behavior. They become emotionally unstable,” he added.
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