According to a report from the Kansas City Star, the body of former Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher was exhumed on Friday at his family’s request.
The hope is, reportedly, to study his brain for clues and possible signs of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and whether or not it played a role in the tragic murder of his longtime girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and subsequent suicide of the former NFL player a year ago.
In an excerpt from the Kansas City Star report, researchers involved explained their hopes for this process and their frustrations for it not being done sooner.
“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.”
Waiting a year or more to examine Belcher’s brain could make any potential research more difficult and perhaps even useless, but (Julian) Bailes – founder of the Brain Injury Research Institue — and Omalu each said there could be some important scientific findings. Omalu has performed multiple autopsies on bodies buried longer than Belcher’s, finding clear evidence of Alzheimer’s and various other brain diseases.
Hopefully the research can further the understanding of the brain, and help prevent these types of endlessly tragic incidents in the future.