Dr. Bennet Omalu Believes O.J. Simpson Has CTE

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2016

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2008, file photo, O.J. Simpson appears during his sentencing hearing at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. Simpson lawyers argued in a final brief submitted Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, to the state high court that a lower court judge was wrong to deny the former football star a new trial in his 2008 kidnapping and armed robbery conviction in a hotel room heist in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, Pool, File, Pool)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first person to discover chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of deceased football players, and while it cannot be conclusively detected in the living, he strongly feels Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson may be suffering from the disease.  

According to Johnny Dodd of People, Omalu is confident the 68-year-old former NFL star—who is currently serving nine to 33 years in prison for a 2008 kidnapping and armed robbery conviction—has been impacted by CTE: "I would bet my medical license that he has CTE. Given his profile, I think it's not an irresponsible conclusion to suspect he has CTE."

Omalu has gained considerable acclaim in recent months due to superstar actor Will Smith's portrayal of him in the film Concussion, which focuses on head injuries in the NFL.

Simpson spent 11 NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers, rushing for 11,236 yards and scoring 75 total touchdowns during his illustrious career.

The former USC standout was famously acquitted of murder charges in 1995 in relation to the deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman.

Omalu's belief is that concussions may have played a role in Simpson's actions, which is a defense he initially used prior to his 2008 conviction.

It cannot be confirmed that Simpson has CTE while he is living, but Omalu's analysis carries a lot of weight, and it creates an interesting perspective regarding why Simpson may have gone from America's sweetheart to convicted felon.

 

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