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‘Concussion’ Doc Believes O.J. Simpson has Degenerative Brain Disease CTE

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*The renowned doctor played by Will Smith in the movie “Concussion” believes O.J. Simpson may have the degenerative brain disease that he first discovered during the autopsies of several deceased NFL players.

Speaking Thursday in an interview with ABC News, Dr. Bennet Omalu — the neuropathologist whose identification of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is depicted in “Concussion” — said Simpson was “more likely than not” suffering from CTE.

“I would bet my medical license on it,” said Omalu.

Dr. Bennet Omalu arrives at a Screening Of Columbia Pictures' "Concussion" at Regency Village Theatre on November 23, 2015 in Westwood, California.
Dr. Bennet Omalu arrives at a Screening Of Columbia Pictures’ “Concussion” at Regency Village Theatre on November 23, 2015 in Westwood, California.

CTE, believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head, has been discovered mostly in athletes who play contact sports, such as football.

It can only be diagnosed after death via an examination of brain tissue, but Dr. Omalu says he can identify the tell-tale signs of disease’s behavioral symptoms, which include explosive, impulsive behavior, impaired judgment, criminality and even mood disorders.

 

Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. He was found not guilty in the 1995 criminal case, but he lost a wrongful death civil suit brought against him by the families of Goldman and his ex-wife. He was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.

In September 2007, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas for armed robbery after attempting to steal sports memorabilia that he claimed belonged to him. The following year — 13 years to the day after being acquitted in his criminal trial — he was found guilty of robbery and kidnapping and sentenced to up to 33 years in prison.

Simpson  used concussions as part of his legal strategy following his conviction in the armed robbery case. According to ESPN, during an appeal of his 33-year maximum sentence, Simpson’s attorney reportedly filed a sworn statement that his client had suffered “numerous blows to my head and/or landed on my head violently” while playing football.

Although Simpson never relied on that defense for his appeal, he was denied a new trial.

While Omalu stressed that CTE does not cause the criminal behavior that led to Simpson’s incarceration, he wants the case to serve a reminder of the life-altering damage that can result from playing football.

“I think because of our intoxication with football we are in some type of delusional denial. But that is how serious this is,” he said.

Multiple NFL players — including Frank Gifford and Junior Seau — have been diagnosed with CTE after their deaths.

 

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