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Jovan Belcher’s body exhumed for brain examination

Belcher Getty Images

More than a year after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his child and then killed himself, Belcher’s brain will be studied for the existence of Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.

According to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, Belcher’s body was exhumed on Friday from his Bay Shore, New York burial site.

Dr. Bennett Omalu, who was instrumental in the discovery of CTE, has said that he would “bet one month’s salary” that Belcher had CTE.  Dr. Omalu also has expressed a belief that tests should have been performed for CTE at the time Belcher died.  The Jackson County, Missouri medical examiner’s office disagrees, explaining that its duty is to determine cause of death only.

“If his brain had been examined [when he died], we’d have a better understanding of why he did what he did,” Dr. Omalu said.  “We would have a better understanding about concussions and playing football, and we would advance the understanding of the science of all of this.”

Actually, all we would know is that Belcher had CTE.  At a time when some doctors fear that anyone who has ever played tackle football has CTE, medical science still has a long way to go in order to connect CTE to specific cognitive disorders or, in Belcher’s case, homicidal and suicidal tendencies.  While it was reckless for the NFL to disregard Dr. Omalu’s work, it would be equally reckless to assume that persons with CTE automatically become potential murderers.

The belated decision to check Belcher’s brain for CTE could be related to the pending concussion settlement.  Benefits are available only to retired players with severe cognitive impairments.  If it can be shown that Belcher had CTE, his one-year-old daughter would be eligible for the same compensation that the estates of Dave Duerson and Junior Seau could eventually receive.

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44 Responses to “Jovan Belcher’s body exhumed for brain examination”
  1. blacknole08 says: Dec 14, 2013 6:54 PM

    I feel bad if Belcher did have a brain issue.

    But let us not forget that an innocent woman was killed and a child left an orphan.

  2. timdavis697 says: Dec 14, 2013 6:55 PM

    Wth really

  3. captainwisdom8888 says: Dec 14, 2013 6:56 PM

    brutal

  4. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Dec 14, 2013 6:57 PM

    I’m no coronary pathologist or whatnot, but doesn’t it seem possible that the evidence (i.e., the brain of Belcher) could be compromised by decomposition.

    It has been a long time since that moist tissue has been in the presence of darkness and oxygen. It’s also been a little over a year.

    Moisture, darkness, oxygen and time – along with a food source – are the key elements to decay. This isn’t like digging up a leg bone or a skull.

    Not sure this complicates matters either, but Belcher also put a bullet through his brain too.

  5. packerbackernj says: Dec 14, 2013 7:00 PM

    He’s a coward and took the cowards way out. I sympathize for his daughter and hope she has the family structure around her to compensate as much as it can.

  6. nkmho says: Dec 14, 2013 7:03 PM

    Watch them not find CTE and dig up a guy’s body for nothing.

  7. paulsmith107 says: Dec 14, 2013 7:03 PM

    I am so tired if this nonsense. I have had concussions and I don’t want to kill myself or murder my loved ones. Soccer players suffer manny concussions and you don’t hear about them killing themselves or others because their brains are scrambled. I call bull crap in this lame excuse and let’s get down to the real deal. Steroids mess with your hormones and mind and prolonged use will also put people into deep depressions hmmmm players are bigger and faster and stronger and seem to all have something wrong with their heads. Maybe they are all a bunch of animals who play an animalistic sport

  8. wwwmattcom says: Dec 14, 2013 7:07 PM

    it would be equally reckless to assume that persons with CTE automatically become potential murderers.

    Isn’t it odd that, with all the FACTS, writers will protect a dangerous activity.

    Experimental medication with any death rate is illegal yet football (an activity that is nothing more than something to do, like knitting) is held above any standard.

    Second ImPact syndrome hasn’t been documented in anyone over 21 that I know of and that’s too bad. If someone died on the field it would go a long way to end football and prevent CTE and future suicides. I don’t know about Belcher, it wouldn’t surprise me thoughthough.

  9. green41563 says: Dec 14, 2013 7:07 PM

    Good Lord.

    The guys who played in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s got knocked out all the time. They got concussion after concussion, and they went right back in.

    How many committed suicide or killed themselves?

  10. ninerider says: Dec 14, 2013 7:21 PM

    First off, it’s been a year. Decomposition has long set in so this is a waste of time. Their trying to say it wasn’t him that pulled the trigger, it was the CTE and the NFL is to blame. The guy is a murder, enough said.

  11. cbrown386 says: Dec 14, 2013 7:27 PM

    I’m sure this is exactly what the family wants…

    What’s done is done, as horrible as it was. Let the family be.

  12. crappygovernment says: Dec 14, 2013 7:28 PM

    I heard JFK had CTE, can we did him up for a real autopsy?

  13. askcabs says: Dec 14, 2013 7:34 PM

    So who gets to examine the brain of Belcher…the same guy that is willing to bet his salary? Well that will certainly be an unbiased examination and analysis! Honestly, it is a sport that allows for these young men to be well compensated for the inherent dangers of their profession. Yes, I agree, years ago the Mike Webster’s of the NFL had no real protection…but today’s NFL is almost like flag football….we can’t blame a mans poor judgement on CTE!

  14. theuncletodd says: Dec 14, 2013 7:35 PM

    @crappygovernment — I think you mean Lee Harvey Oswald

  15. wishingtonredslur says: Dec 14, 2013 7:35 PM

    I think there needs to be serious study on the long term use of PEDS and there effect on a brain that is repeatedly concussed. I never bought into the concussion issue being the NFL’s fault, you get a helmet in pee wee leagues to the majors, motor cyclists wear them, skiers, cyclists, baseball players, cricket players and on and on. Why did you think you kept getting helmets? If you didn’t know smashing your brain was bad for you then you were not paying attention.

  16. henryjones20 says: Dec 14, 2013 7:36 PM

    Packerbackernj: only a coward calls that act a coward act! sick of hearing that saying! that act takes a lot of balls to put a gun to your head and pull the trigger,i know for a fact i would never have the balls to do that crap.

  17. infectorman says: Dec 14, 2013 7:38 PM

    Actually, all we would know is that Belcher had CTE. At a time when some doctors fear that anyone who has ever played tackle football has CTE, medical science still has a long way to go in order to connect CTE to specific cognitive disorders or, in Belcher’s case, homicidal and suicidal tendencies.

    ————————–

    Spoken like a true company man. Not that there is overwhelming evidence, but there is certainly evidence to suggest a relationship between severe depression and CTE. Severe depression and cognitive challenges can lead to a whole host of mental health problems…
    Junior Seau?

    Also, it’s freakin comical reading the armchair neurosurgeons opining about what can and can not be determined from a brain that has been buried for a year…
    As if any of you clowns would know!

  18. posmoo says: Dec 14, 2013 7:42 PM

    I find it disturbing that a man in charge of discovering the dangers and scope of CTE has such a rooting interest to find it wherever he looks.

  19. Bmorelikeray52 says: Dec 14, 2013 7:47 PM

    Now if we can do the same thing with Logicalvoicessays’s brain.

  20. propertyofthebroncos says: Dec 14, 2013 7:48 PM

    I agree wholeheartedly with henryjones20. Suicide is such a taboo subject people don’t take the time to understand it. Its sad this happened and I feel for the family but he clearly was going through something and needed help that he couldnt communicate he needed so he never recieved it. Our society needs to step up and educate themselves so perhaps one day you can save a life and help a loved one. Calling him a coward is awful.

  21. logicalvoiccsays says: Dec 14, 2013 7:48 PM

    HAHAHA!!! God’s team put this fool in his place.

    #hail

  22. jordanleslieadams says: Dec 14, 2013 7:51 PM

    “it would be equally reckless to assume that persons with CTE automatically become potential murderers.”

    Of course that would be reckless. However it is impossible to infer this assumption from Dr. Bennett Omalu’s statement.

  23. anicra says: Dec 14, 2013 7:52 PM

    Mental health and the lack of proper measures to protect society/self is the real issue being ignored.

  24. nfl4days says: Dec 14, 2013 7:52 PM

    You people don’t understand between the difference between a cause and s factor. CTE may have been a big factor in what Belcher did, but not the 100% cause. Belcher and his family deserves some level of sympathy.

  25. bruiseddeath says: Dec 14, 2013 8:00 PM

    “Watch them not find CTE and dig up a guy’s body for nothing.”

    ________________________

    A negative finding is just as valid and useful as a positive finding..

  26. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 14, 2013 8:17 PM

    Sounds like an opportunity to make money for Dr’s, who will inevitably find what the people paying WANT them to find…

  27. caseyanthonymunoz says: Dec 14, 2013 8:41 PM

    Sorry, but I can’t shed any tears after crying all afternoon for poor Peyton Manning. Apparently all that non-dome weather gave him a case of the sniffles. And a case of choking.

  28. SilentMajority says: Dec 14, 2013 8:45 PM

    Seems like all of a sudden every time a football player does something stupid it is excused because they have/had CTE. Do people believe that CTE is the only variable in their decisions?

  29. FinFan68 says: Dec 14, 2013 8:56 PM

    It seems pointless to me. He was a football player. He was a youngfootball player. The effects over time would likely not be caused by the NFL and shouldn’t really have any bearing on the settlement. CTE is something new. It would not surprise me if they dug up any random guy and found “evidence of CTE”. To me, this is unnecessary. He shot his GF and then killed himself. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he was probably a tad “crazy”. Saying CTE caused that and holding the NFL accountable is irresponsible at best.

  30. lynnko says: Dec 14, 2013 8:57 PM

    so…it’s about the money!

  31. abninf says: Dec 14, 2013 8:58 PM

    His BAC was twice the legal limit. He’s not the first drunk to shoot people and commit suicide.

  32. posmoo says: Dec 14, 2013 9:08 PM

    wwwmattcom says: Dec 14, 2013 7:07 PM

    “Isn’t it odd that, with all the FACTS, writers will protect a dangerous activity.
    Experimental medication with any death rate is illegal yet football (an activity that is nothing more than something to do, like knitting) is held above any standard.”
    —————-

    We protect almost all dangerous activity, once competent individuals aware of the dangers assume the risk – which all pro football players are. Driving cars, jumping out of planes, boxing, wrestling, deep sea underwater welding, skiing, swimming, grilling in the backyard, mowing the lawn, basketball at the park, getting on ladders. Goodness you can still work with asbestos if you want, the problem with that is the people in the know denied the danger – there was no informed consent.

    It’s called freedom. Who are you to tell informed adults how they can and can’t live their lives?

    don’t like it, perhaps you’d feel more comfortable in North Korea?

    Oh, and you are analogy to medicinal trials is asinine.
    First off, your not comparing apples to apples because medicine is intended to heal not harm. No one sells downhill skiing as a health elixir.
    Second, you just happen to be dead wrong. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) kills 1,000 Americans a year. You know why we still allow it to be sold? it’s a great fever reducer and also stops hundreds of millions of headaches a year.
    So please, if you don’t know what you are talking about, don’t alert the world to that fact.

  33. dirtydrynn27 says: Dec 14, 2013 9:10 PM

    Not going to judge this guy because it`s not my place to judge him and call him a coward,murderer or anything else,But I will give an opinion about this…..

    I never did believe in exhuming a body no matter what the situation is,When someone dies let them rest in peace!!!!!

  34. therealzeitgeist says: Dec 14, 2013 9:26 PM

    dirtydrynn27 said:
    “Not going to judge this guy because it`s not my place to judge him and call him a coward,murderer or anything else”

    Well, I think objectively one can conclude the dude was kinda-sorta-maybe a murderer.

  35. deacon85 says: Dec 14, 2013 9:54 PM

    Fact 1: the Kansas City Star says his body was “exhumed at his family’s request.” Fact 2: Florio says “If it can be shown that Belcher had CTE, his one-year-old daughter would be eligible for the same compensation…” Fact 3: the Star report quotes “an attorney who’s working with the Belcher family.” Call me skeptical, but this is all about money.

  36. taintedsaints2009 says: Dec 14, 2013 9:56 PM

    Can we hear what bob costas thinks of the culture of exhuming bodies in this country?

  37. clemenza58 says: Dec 14, 2013 10:05 PM

    I am surprised they didn’t study Belcher’s brain last year. While they might find something, the results would probably have been more conclusive if they did this after the fact. Whether or not Belcher had CTE, what he did was horrible and as Florio said, it’s a stretch to difinitivelty tie all violent crimes with head trauma in football. More research needs to be done either way.

  38. GenXJay says: Dec 14, 2013 10:09 PM

    Hernandez should be the next brain dissected.

  39. wwwmattcom says: Dec 14, 2013 10:36 PM

    Competent adults should be allowed to make the decision to harm themselves.
    But there was just a lawsuit where the competent adults deemed themselves less than competent and won 700 million dollars.
    Just because they are an adult doesn’t mean they are competent. In fact many adults are on welfare and other government aid because of that fact. I don’t prefer that, if I did I would be in Canada and not oppose Socialism. Since you think people should be allowed to harm themsleves and blame others for it I guess that makes you the best kind of American. One with a lawyer.

    Second Impact syndrome doesn’t occur in those younger than 21.
    So let’s scrap peewee and high-school football.

    Good point “posmoo”

  40. bullpuppy552 says: Dec 14, 2013 10:41 PM

    He’s only been buried a year so decompositi0on will not be that bad, especially when the body and organs are embalmed. It’s not like worms are eating on him or anything either. His brain should be in good shape yet.

  41. muhangis says: Dec 14, 2013 10:55 PM

    All this is the name of $ ??? They apparently have no other motive behind this. Shame on these people!

    The guy did wrong, but let the man REST IN PEACE!!! And let God deal with the rest.

    Sometimes GREED has no shame.

  42. bigtimebrownie says: Dec 15, 2013 12:52 AM

    This was a tragedy. I feel for those left behind. However, run a dollar bill through a lawyer’s office and you get justice. It’s all sad.

  43. dahmergeinteam says: Dec 15, 2013 10:54 AM

    This man should not have had to go through all this, and I have not been anywhere near NY.

  44. rams1999 says: Dec 16, 2013 2:48 AM

    I Dont remember Steve Young, Troy Aikman, n the rest who have had concussions in career ever kill GF and self….cant recall.
    To have his body tooken outta grave is an insult to his memory. Family obviously approved. Guess they thinking money and possible lawsuit for future?? Just sayin. Why was that not tested before burial? Duh?
    A huge insult. This”CTE” exsisted before, why does this barely occur to family or whomever involved with this. And this comment is keeping real people. It makes sense.

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