The body of Jovan Belcher, who killed the mother of his child and then took his own life on Dec. 1, 2012, was exhumed at his family's request from a Bay Shore, N.Y., cemetery on Long Island (where Belcher was from), Dirk Vandever, an attorney working with the Belcher family, told Sam Mellinger of The Kansas City Star.
This is believed to be the first exhumation of a former NFL player.
Belcher shot longtime girlfriend Kasandra Perkins nine times at the home they shared in Kansas City before he shot himself in the head at the Chiefs' practice facility.
“If his brain had been examined [when he died], we’d have a better understanding of why he did what he did,” said Bennet Omalu, who is credited with discovering the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and was featured in the "League of Denial" documentary. “We would have a better understanding about concussions and playing football, and we would advance the understanding of the science of all of this.”
CTE, a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head, has been linked to depression, dementia, confusion, memory loss, aggression and sometimes suicide.
Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has found the disease in 45 of the 46 former NFL players it has studied.
Belcher played four seasons for the Chiefs and didn't have any documented history of concussions. But his friends told Bleacher Report last month that Belcher had suffered multiple concussions and had become unpredictable and irritable in the months leading up to the murder-suicide.
Omalu, who discovered CTE in an autopsy of former Steelers and Chiefs center Mike Webster and is the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County in California, said he “would bet one month’s salary that [Belcher] had CTE,” and that the local medical examiner should have performed a test for it.