Brain Disease CTE Linked By Autopsy To NFL Player Adrian Robinson’s Suicide

The brain disease CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is being linked to Adrian Robinson’s suicide after the results of the NFL player’s autopsy came back. Friends say they started noticing a darker side to Robinson after he experienced multiple head concussions in the NFL, although the family does not plan on filing a lawsuit over Robinson’s death.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, Adrian Robinson died at the young age of 25. Back in May of 2015, the medical examiner confirmed that the football player committed suicide by hanging.

Dr. Allen Sills, a neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, explains that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy cannot be tested for in an alive patient since the brain disease CTE can only be discovered by analyzing brain tissue. It was not until recently that the CTE Center at Boston University confirmed Robinson’s diagnosis in their autopsy report.

“We are still learning exactly what CTE is and how to diagnose it,” Sills explained, according to ABC. “To date we are not able to diagnose it to prior to death. We really don’t have a good understanding of who may develop it.”

After Adrian Robinson committed suicide, the family started thinking back and they realized the NFL player had become aggressive and angry before he died. Prior to the concussions, everyone remembers Robinson being a wonderful person.

Ben Andreozzi, the attorney for Robinson’s family, says Adrian suffered multiple head concussions during his time in the NFL, and the family believes there may be a connection.

“He went from being one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to talk to, to having a darker edge at times,” Andreozzi said, according to CBS. “The family started noticing changes in his behavior, and didn’t know why.”

Ex-NFLer's death ruled suicide

Although outward signs of the brain disease CTE can include changes in behavior, Dr. Sills cautions that it is impossible to directly link the CTE brain disease to these changes.

“It’s difficult to correlate changes seen in the brain during autopsy to behavior during life,” he explained.

Chris Nowinski of the Boston University-affiliated Concussion Legacy Foundation says that 88 of 92 NFL players tested posthumously for the brain disease CTE have shown evidence for the condition. In addition, David Hovda, professor of neurosurgery and director of UCLA’s Brain Injury Research Center, noted how “unusual” it was for a 25-year-old athlete to developed the brain disease CTE, but he says experts believe some people react differently to head concussions.

“There are players and athletes that are more susceptible … to having long-term problems following a single concussion,” he explained.

In general, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine believe the brain disease CTE is caused by a repetitive history of head trauma. The brain disease CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s, but in more recent years there have been many confirmed cases of CTE in retired pro football players and other athletes who passed away.

Brain Disease CTE Images of tau build up on brains. [Image via Boston University]Doctors believe the brain disease CTE is caused when trauma causes the brain tissue to begin progressively degenerating. The brain tissue is also affected by an unusual build-up of a protein called tau, which appears as a dark brown color in sections of the brain.

“These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement,” explained the Boston University’s CTE Center. “The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.”

While scientists continue to debate the link between the brain disease CTE, concussions, and suicide, the NFL has agreed to create a $1 billion fund which would be used to settle injury claims by NFL players. The fund would focus on claims related to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and CTE-related suicides.

[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]