Cincinnati Bengals WR Chris Henry, who died last December after falling out of the back of a pick-up truck his fiancée was driving, had multiple injuries to his brain from football hits according to researchers from West Virginia University.
Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL, have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.
What’s interesting, Bailes said, is that Henry was only 26, and neither NFL nor WVU records show he was diagnosed with a concussion during his playing career.
The researchers stained tiny slices of Henry’s brain, with permission from Henry’s mom Carolyn Henry, and were able to determine the brain damage to Henry.
Henry’s NFL career was troubled with drug arrests and behavioral issues, but he seemed like he had put that all in his past and turned a corner last year.