O.J. Simpson Has Dr. Bennet Omalu's Endorsement for CTE Disease; Would That Explain Behavior?

By Brian Neal on Jan 29, 2016 03:18 PM EST

Dr. Bennet Omalu, the famous NFL concussion expert who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- or CTE -- told People Magazine recently that he would bet his medical license that O.J. Simpson suffers from the brain disease. That's a pretty major endorsement for Simpson, who's been trying to get a new trial for the armed robbery and kidnapping charges. After all, isn't it logical that a severe degenerative brain disease may affect and explain his behavior?

Obviously, Simpson has had an extremely controversial and radical past.

After starring in the NFL and becoming one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game of football, his stardom was at an all-time high. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, following his fantastic career that spanned all of the 70s.

But about a decade after his enshrinement, horror struck. He was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend in 1994, but was acquitted a year later. Many believe that he did it, while a minority do not.

What may slowly be becoming a reality, however, is that he may have suffered and still is from CTE. It's the same disease that caused Junior Seau and Dave Duerson to take their lives, and has been examined in many, many other former players. Even the young Jovan Belcher, who went off the reservation with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he threatened the lives of many at the team's facility and eventually killed himself, has been diagnosed with it, and he was only 25.

Now, not everyone was affected as terribly by it during their lives after retirement. But many players who took the big hits and kept playing through them, as it was allowed prior to the past 10-15 years or so, have suffered.

Simpson is certainly in that group. He was quoted back when he called for another trial in 2012, saying "I was knocked out of games for such head blows repeatedly in the 1970s and other times I continued playing despite hard blows to my head during football games."

Omalu has backed him up on those statements, saying there's basically zero chance that he doesn't suffer from CTE. He also added that because of his unusually large head size, that the weight and amount of impact moving forward was far greater for him than most other players and running backs. He certainly took a pounding as a back for the 11 years he played, and obviously would have played through some pretty bad concussions at one point or another.

Sadly, we cannot yet confirm whether a player has CTE for sure until after death, because the brain must be examined postmortem. However, there are symptoms, and many former and current players -- including Simpson -- seem to exhibit them.

How much did it have to do with the crime he was acquitted for -- if he did, in fact, commit it -- or the one he was convicted for back in 2007-08? That remains to be seen. But certainly, it isn't a far-fetched thought to believe that severe brain trauma could affect a person's actions, emotions and all the like. Perhaps the missing puzzle piece to Simpson's post-football life is the fact that he is sick -- essentially mentally ill.

Only time will tell.

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TagsO.J. Simpson, Dr. Bennet Omalu, CTE

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