Kansas City, MO, United States (4E Sports) – The body of former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher was exhumed Friday and his brain will be examined to discover what drove him to kill his longtime girlfriend and himself.
According to Dick Vandever, a lawyer working with the Belcher family, the former linebacker’s body was exhumed at North Babylon Cemetery in Bay Shore, New York.
Last Dec. 1, 2012, Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins nine times at the home they shared in Kansas City before driving to the Chiefs’ practice facility and shooting himself in the head, leaving their infant daughter orphaned.
“If his brain had been examined (when he died), we’d have a better understanding of why he did what he did,” said Bennet Omalu, who is credited with discovering the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“We would have a better understanding about concussions and playing football, and we would advance the understanding of the science of all of this,” he added.
According to Omalu, the potential discoveries could be important, both in science and football.
CTE is a degenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries. The disease has been linked to depression, dementia, confusion, memory loss, aggression and even suicide in many former NFL players.
Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has found the disease in 45 of 46 former NFL players it has studied. Until recently, the disease was only diagnosable posthumously.
Tony Dorsett and Mark Duper are among the living former players to be diagnosed with CTE.
Belcher played in the NFL for four seasons with the Chiefs. He did not have a documented history of concussions when he killed his girlfriend and himself last December.
However, friends told Bleacher Report last month that Belcher had suffered multiple concussions.
Several media outlets reported that that Belcher had become unpredictable and irritable in the months leading up to the murder-suicide and was beginning to drink more.
Julian Bailes, founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute, has an extensive history of studying the connection between football and brain injuries.
“Did he have CTE changes in the brain?” Bailes said. “That’s the question.”