Vincent Jackson's Brain to Be Donated to CTE Research: 'Wanted to Help as Many People as Possible'
Vincent Jackson's brain will be donated to scientists researching CTE.
The 12-year veteran of the NFL was found dead in a Brandon, Florida, hotel room this week, with authorities suggesting he may have suffered from alcoholism and the concussion-linked brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is better known as CTE.
Jackson, a popular wide receiver who played for the San Diego Chargers and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before his retirement in 2018, was 38 years old.
Family spokesperson Allison Gorrell confirmed to USA Today and The New York Times that his family is donating his brain to leading researchers at Boston University looking into CTE and its effects.
"Vincent being who he was would have wanted to help as many people as possible," Gorrell told the Times. "It's something his family wanted to do to get answers to some of their questions."
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In a statement sent to PEOPLE earlier this week, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said while an investigation into Jackson's death is still ongoing, his family believes he may have suffered from chronic alcoholism and CTE.
CTE has been linked to a number of former NFL players following their deaths and is caused by repeated concussions and trauma to the head.
"It could be several weeks before we know what led to the untimely and tragic death of Vincent Jackson," the department said. "The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office continues to conduct a thorough investigation alongside the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office."
"Based on statements made by relatives of Jackson to detectives, his family had reason to believe he may have suffered from chronic alcoholism and concussions, however, the exact cause and manner of Mr. Jackson's death will not be certain until his autopsy, among other reports, is complete," the statement continued.
While not all football players develop CTE, it is prevalent in the league — in a 2017 study of the brains of 111 deceased NFL players, a Boston University researcher found 110 of them had the disease. CTE can cause symptoms of depression, impulsive behavior, short-term memory loss and emotional instability, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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