Dr. Bennet Omalu is convinced that O.J. Simpson has CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The renowned neuropathologist linked the brain disease to multiple concussions received by football players during games.
In a related Inquisitr report, New York Giants safety Tyler Sash had CTE. The Super Bowl champion died from a drug overdose in September, but a recently-released report revealed he unknowingly suffered from the disorder.
“O.J. Simpson is more likely than not to suffer from CTE,” Omalu told ABC News earlier this week. “I would bet my medical license on it.”
CTE most commonly affects athletes who participate in contact sports like football or boxing. Dr. Omalu believes it is caused by frequent blows to the head.
CTE can only be diagnosed by examining the brain tissue after death. However, the concussion doctor says the telltale signs of the disorder are easily observed.
The symptoms of CTE include volatile, thoughtless behavior, diminished judgment, depression, and even criminal behavior. In some cases, memory loss and advanced dementia are experienced.
While Omalu did not personally examine Simpson, he thinks the disease probably started developing while O.J. played college and pro football.
“He was exposed to thousands of blunt force trauma of his brain. Given his profile, I think it’s not an irresponsible conclusion to suspect he has CTE.”
O.J. Simpson is one of the most famous running backs in football history. In the 1990s, he was accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Ultimately, O.J. was acquitted of the murder, but was ordered to $33.5 million in damages to the families of Goldman and his ex-wife after losing a wrongful death civil suit against him.
Simpson was accused in 2007 for armed robbery of sports memorabilia and arrested in a Las Vegas hotel. A year later, he was found guilty of robbery and kidnapping, and was sent to prison.
While trying to appeal the conviction and a 33-year maximum sentence, Simpson’s attorney tried to use concussions as part of a defense strategy. According to a sworn statement, the former NFL player said he had suffered from countless hits to the head while playing football in the 1970s. Despite this, he was never granted a new trial.
Omalu contends that CTE does not necessarily cause criminal behavior; yet, if he truly suffers from CTE, Simpson’s case could show how playing football can lead to destructive events later in life.
“I think because of our intoxication with football we are in some type of delusional denial. But that is how serious this is,” he said.
Simpson’s former business manager, Norman Pardo, agrees with the concussion doctor.
“Everybody who knows him knows there’s a problem there. There’s something wrong with his head and there has been for a long time.”
Omalu says the size of Simpson’s head may have facilitated the onset of CTE. During an interview five years ago, Dave Hojnowski, former equipment manager for the Buffalo Bills, said that Simpson had an unusually large head and was required to wear a custom-sized helmet.
“If you have a bigger head that means your head is heavier,” Omalu said. “That means the momentum of your impact would be bigger. It’s basic physics.”
O.J. Simpson played in the NFL for 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. He won the 1973 NFL MVP after becoming the first running back to reach 2,000 yards in a season and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Previously, while in college at USC, he won the Heisman Trophy.
The neuropathologist connected the degenerative brain condition to repeat concussions in football players after performing an autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster. According to his research, CTE causes brain tissue to deteriorate and the condition can begin months, years, or even decades after the last trauma.
According to Dr. Bennet Omalu, Simpson has CTE, but it will be continually debated whether the disorder explains the former NFL star’s infamous misdeeds.
[Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]