Jovan Belcher's Body Exhumed in Search of Brain Injury

Expert convinced Chiefs' linebacker had CTE when he killed girlfriend, self
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 15, 2013 10:41 AM CST
In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, whose body has been exhumed more than a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself so his brain can be examined.   (Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – Former Kansas City Chiefs' linebacker Jovan Belcher's body has been exhumed more than a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself so that his brain can be examined for signs of a degenerative condition linked to repeated concussions. An examination of Belcher's brain could determine whether he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy last December when he killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, with whom he had an infant daughter, in their home. Belcher then drove to the Chiefs' practice facility and shot himself in the head in the parking lot.

Bennet Omalu, an expert on the destructive brain condition, said that he "would bet one month's salary that (Belcher) had CTE," and that the local medical examiner should have performed a test for it. Belcher's brain also could have been donated for research, but a family attorney said his family wasn't contacted about such a donation. The fact that it's been a year since Belcher died could complicate the exam. But Omalu said important scientific findings remain possible, noting that he has found clear evidence of Alzheimer's and other brain diseases during autopsies performed on bodies buried longer than Belcher's. (Read more Jovan Belcher stories.)

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