Retired NFL player Vincent Jackson‘s family donated his brain to researchers at Boston University, who will determine if he suffered from chromic traumatic encephalopathy, the New York Times reported.
Jackson was found dead in his hotel room in Florida on Feb. 15. He was 38. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
A representative for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Public Affairs Office told E! News, “It could be several weeks before we know what led to the untimely and tragic death of Vincent Jackson. 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.”
Allison Gorrell, a spokeswoman for the Jackson family, told NYT of the donation, “Vincent being who he was would have wanted to help as many people as possible. It’s something his family wanted to do to get answers to some of their questions.”
Chromic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, is linked to repeated head trauma. Football players are particularly at risk for CTE, which can cause cognitive impairment, suicidal thoughts, memory loss, depression and impulsive behavior, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed after death by postmortem neuropathological analysis. Football players such as Ollie Matson, Tommy Nobis, Ken Stabler and Frank Gifford were determined to have suffered from CTE postmortem.