Sports News

Boston University will study brain of former Patriots player who killed 5 people and self

They hope to identify whether Phillip Adams had CTE.

Phillip Adams played in six games for the Patriots in 2011. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Boston University will collaborate with the Medical University of South Carolina to study and analyze the brain of a former NFL player who killed five people and then himself earlier this week.

They hope to determine whether Phillip Adams – who played six games for the Patriots in 2011 and spent six years in the NFL – had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that could have stemmed from his time playing football.

Routine forensic autopsies don’t identify CTE, but this study could possibly provide more insight. The BU CTE Center conducts research on the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel.


“The mission of the CTE Center is to conduct state-of-the-art research on CTE, including its neuropathology and pathogenesis, clinical presentation, genetics and other risk factors, biomarkers, methods of detection during life, and methods of prevention and treatment,” according to its website.

Adams, 32, reportedly killed a South Carolina physician, three family members, and a repairman before fatally shooting himself. His motive is unclear as of Saturday.

According to ESPN, it will be months before results are available from the tests for CTE. A recent study showed signs of the disease in 110 of 111 players whose brains were examined.

NBC News notes that Adams suffered at least two concussions late in the 2012 season while with the Oakland Raiders.

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