Deceased Former Football Player Cullen Finnerty Suffered from Brain Disease
According to reports, Cullen Finnerty, 30, was found dead in the Michigan wilderness after he disappeared into the woods while on a fishing trip. After an autopsy showed the Mr. Finnerty suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), investigators now believe the degenerative brain disease could be connected to his odd behavior.
About Mr. Finnerty’s Death
- Cullen Finnerty was on a fishing trip with his brother-in-law and father-in-law, Matt and Dan Brinks, May 26.
- Mr. Finnerty decided to go on a small personal inflatable pontoon boat, and had planned to rendezvous with the Brinks’s in half an hour.
- Mr. Finnerty disappeared and was dead two days later, May 28.
- The cause of death was pneumonia caused by Mr. Finnerty inhaling his own vomit while incapacitated.
- Investigators believe Mr. Finnerty’s death is tied to CTE in combination with painkillers that Mr. Finnerty was taking for his chronic back pain. Both conditions were correlated to injuries he suffered playing college football.
- Jennifer Finnerty, Mr. Finnerty’s wife, stated this was not the first time Mr. Finnerty suffered from paranoia.
- A year and a half earlier, Mr. Finnerty disappeared into Grand Rapids in western Michigan after believing the FBI was following him. According to Mrs. Finnerty, her husband remained in a panicked state for 4 to 5 days.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
“He wasn’t the kind of guy that threw the ball away. He probably took some hits he shouldn’t have.” – Scott Boyd, family friend as published by Fox News
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative brain condition that is found in people who experience repeated traumatic brain injuries like concussions.
- The disease is most commonly found in athletes who participate in contact sports like football, hockey, boxing and wrestling. It is also common among men and women who have served in the military.
- Currently, CTE can only be positively diagnosed post mortem; however, it may be identified though family members providing a history of injuries and symptoms that are tied to CTE.
- A recent study found that 80 percent of people who had suffered repeated traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed with CTE after death.
The study identified four states of CTE sorted by symptoms:
- Stage I – headaches, difficulty concentrating, short term memory loss and a tendency to be more aggressive.
- Stage II – mood swings, depression and explosivity.
- Stage III – problems planning or organizing, more sever memory loss, more sever issues with attention and concentration, apathy and suicidal thoughts.
- Stage IV – major memory loss, dementia, overpowering problems with concentration and attention, aggressiveness, severe depression, and permanent trouble walking.
- The study further warned that 31% of those who had been diagnosed with Stage IV CTE had, at some point, been suicidal.
- The NFL is currently facing lawsuits from thousands of players who state that they were not made aware of such severe harmful effects of multiple concussions.
- The NCAA is facing lawsuits for their handling of head injuries as well.
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