Brain Injury Eyed in Penn Player's Suicide
Concussion-related brain disease found in Owen Thomas, 21
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2010 1:39 AM CDT
Owen Thomas, a 21-year-old junior defensive end, hanged himself in his off-campus apartment last spring.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Doctors have discovered signs of a trauma-related brain disease in a University of Pennsylvania football player who killed himself earlier this year. The doctor who conducted the autopsy on Owen Thomas says that while chronic traumatic encephalopathy—CTE—shouldn't be considered the main cause of the 21-year-old athlete's suicide, the presence of the disease on one so young raises troubling questions about sports head injuries, the New York Times reports.

Thomas, who had no history of depression, hanged himself after what friends and family describe as "a sudden and uncharacteristic emotional collapse." CTE—which has been linked to depression and loss of impulse control—has been found in at least 20 deceased NFL players, two of whom also committed suicide. Thomas never reported suffering any concussions, but doctors believe he must have developed the disease because of either concussions that he dismissed or from the many subconcussive impacts he withstood during his playing days.

 

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