Former NFL wide receiver Demaryius Thomas passed away in December 2021 at the young age of 33. A posthumous examination of his brain revealed he was suffering from stage 2 CTE, his family shared.
Demaryius Thomas Is Among The 300 Athletes Diagnosed With CTE
Thomas was found dead in his Georgia home in December 2021. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said a copy of his autopsy report was not ready to be shared, but authorities did not suspect foul play. Thomas’ mother, Katina Smith, revealed her son started displaying concerning behavior, like isolation which is associated with CTE, a form of brain degeneration.
“He was just so young, and it was horrible to see him struggle. His father and I hope all families learn the risks of playing football. We don’t want other parents to have to lose their children like we did,” Smith said in a statement.
Dr. Ann McKee, director of the Boston University CTE Center, said she hoped Thomas’ diagnosis served as a wake-up call to other athletes. The center examined Thomas’ brain and diagnosed him with stage 2 CTE after his family agreed to donate his brain.
“The question I keep asking myself is ‘When will enough be enough?’ When will athletes, parents, and the public at large stop ignoring the risks of American football and insist that the game be changed to reduce subconcussive hits and that the athletes be comprehensively evaluated at the beginning and end of every season?” McKee said in a statement.
His driver found Demaryius Thomas lifeless after a friend suggested someone check on him. His cousin said the family believed Thomas’ death was caused or related to a seizure.
Per NBC News, LaTonya Bonseigneur shared that the former Denver Broncos player suffered seizures for over a year before his death.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation says seizures are a product of late-stage CTE and believes Thomas “developed post-traumatic epilepsy after a car accident and fall he experienced several years before he died,” NBC News reports.
Is The NFL Doing Enough?
While the NFL has acknowledged the link between the disease and football, instituted strict concussion protocols, and dished out a lot of money, many feel the league has still not done enough to protect players.
With his posthumous diagnosis, Thomas joins over 300 former professional athletes diagnosed with CTE.
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