Doctors have confirmed that former NFL player Phillip Adams, who killed six people before killing himself, had severe CTE.
Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist and expert on neurodegenerative diseases at Boston University, studied Adams’ brain after his death. She found that two decades of playing football caused him to have severe CTE in both frontal lobes of his brain.
On April 7th, Adams shot six people to death at a Rock Hill, South Carolina home before killing himself the next day. Before the tragedy unfolded, Adams complained of severe pain, memory loss, and difficulty sleeping. His family says that he tried countless times to get help from the NFL but was denied because he had trouble remembering things about his condition and struggled to complete simple tasks such as traveling to the doctor’s office.
The San Francisco 49ers drafted the 33-year-old in 2010. He also played for the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and Atlanta Falcons until 2015. Before his NFL career, he played college football for the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
During her examination, McKee compared Adams’ CTE pathology to that of deceased NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who was found to have Stage 2 CTE after his 2017 death. She found distinct differences that made Adams’ condition more critical than Hernandez’s.
“It was different in that it was unusually severe in both frontal lobes,” she explained.
In addition to headaches and memory loss, McKee says Stage 2 CTE can cause aggression, impulsivity, depression, paranoia, anxiety, and “homicidal behavior.”
The NFL said that they “appreciate the work done by Dr. McKee” and are “committed to supporting scientific research into CTE.”