Demaryius Thomas suffered from the degenerative brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is associated with repeated blows to the head, according to an announcement by Boston University doctors who had examined the former NFL star’s brain.
Thomas was found dead at his home in Roswell, Georgia last December 9, just 15 days before his 34th birthday. At the time, his family believed seizures Thomas had been dealing with since a car accident in 2019 may have led to his death. The Fulton County, Georgia Coroner’s Office has not yet made a determination on the cause of death.
The neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee, who was part of the Boston University research team, said Thomas most likely died after a seizure — a condition not generally associated with CTE.
“CTE itself does not cause death. You don’t die from CTE,” McKee told ABC News. “CTE changes your behavior and your personality.”
Family members say that in addition to the seizures that began in 2020, Thomas also struggled with the well-known conditions associated with CTE: memory loss, paranoia and other erratic behavior, particularly in the last year before his death.
“His mood would change and he would isolate himself at times,” Thomas’ mother, Katina Stuckey Smith, told ABC News. “He said, ‘Mom, I don’t know what’s going on with my body. You know, I have to pull myself together,’ and he said, ‘I don’t feel like myself anymore.'”
Thomas was a first-round pick by Georgia Tech in 2010 and played 10 seasons in the NFL. He spent 8½ seasons with the Denver Broncos, with which he won two AFC championships and a Super Bowl. The four-time Pro Bowl receiver also played for the Houston Texans and New York Jets and finished his career with 724 catches for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns.
Thomas retired from the NFL in June 2021.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34196429/boston-university-researchers-say-late-nfl-star-wide-receiver-demaryius-thomas-suffered-degenerative-brain-disease-cte Boston University researchers say late NFL star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had degenerative brain disease CTE