Penn player who killed self had brain disease
PHILADELPHIA – A detailed examination of the brain of a Penn football player who committed suicide showed he had the same disease caused by hard hits that has been associated with NFL players.
The New York Times reported Monday that Owen Thomas was in the early stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a disease linked to depression and impulse control – primarily among NFL players.
A former Penn captain, Thomas was found dead in April at his off-campus apartment.
The research on Thomas’ brain tissue was done at Boston University, which has done much of the work on the impact of big hits on football players and others.
Dr. Robert Stern, a director of the Boston University group, confirmed the findings to The Associated Press but otherwise declined comment.
Katherine Brearley is Thomas’ mother. She tells the AP she doesn’t to know to what extent brain trauma caused her son to commit suicide, and doctors cautioned they could not necessarily be certain about the extent of a connection.