Immediately after the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide in Kansas City, I noted that I was seeking comment from Dr. Bennet Omalu on whether it would be possible to study Belcher’s brain for chronic traumatic encephelopathy even though he shot himself in the head.
By way of quick background, Omalu, now the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin County, California, is the researcher who identified CTE in a cohort of dead Pittsburgh Steelers and pushed the National Football League’s doctors and apologists to embrace seriously the study of long-term traumatic brain injury in their sport.
Here’s what Omalu says about Belcher:
“The answer is a bold yes [in the hands of a] skilled forensic pathologist who has vast experience with cases like that. We have been able to perform autopsies on individuals buried for 2 to 3 years, and still we were able to examine their brains and derive definitive diagnoses. A gunshot wound of the head, or shotgun wound of the head, should not preclude CTE analyses and/or diagnoses.”