Last Wednesday, the Associated Press reported an autopsy revealed former linebacker Adrian Robinson Jr. had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that has been linked to dementia, memory loss and depression.
Robinson committed suicide May 16 by hanging at the age of 25.
“The family noticed that he became more confrontational and on edge,” the family’s attorney Benjamin Andreozzi told The Temple News. “[Adrian] was generally very mild mannered and laid back.”
Pennlive.com reported the Robinsons donated Adrian’s brain to Boston University after his death and were told by researchers Oct. 12 that their findings indicated Robinson had CTE.
In a statement to the report, the family said Adrian suffered from “several concussions” during his playing career.
The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native appeared in all 50 games during his college career, starting in 38 games—including a team-best 32 consecutive games from 2009-11.
During his time as an Owl, Robinson—whose brother, Averee, is a junior defensive lineman at Temple—totaled 156 career tackles, 221/2 career sacks and 331/5 tackles for loss.
“I just remember him being a tremendous and happy guy from an unbelievable family,” former defensive line coach Sean Cronin told The Temple News in May. “He was a tremendous player and a tremendous kid. … You couldn’t say anything bad about him.”
Robinson, who signed a free-agent contract with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats April 27, appeared in six games for the Denver Broncos and two for the San Diego Chargers in 2013. He appeared in 12 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012.
“He was a hard-working guy,” Cronin said. “He never got in trouble. He always had a smile on his face when he went to work every day. He is what you want in a football player.”
Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found CTE in 96 percent of NFL players they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players, according to a report from PBS’ FRONTLINE program.
Veterans Affairs and Boston University also found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.
Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, published a study in 2012 that found NFL players had four times the risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, compared to the general population.
Researchers did note it’s possible that CTE was the true cause of death in those players found to have ALS or Alzheimer’s. The researchers relied on death certificates, rather than autopsies, making the true cause of death inconclusive, according to the authors of the report.
In April, a federal judge approved a settlement that resolved the concussion lawsuit between the NFL and former players. The agreement, which will include monetary awards for retired players diagnosed with certain neurological conditions, funding for a program to monitor, diagnose and counsel ex-players and payment of fees to the attorneys of retired players, will cost the NFL $900 million or more.
Through six weeks of the 2015 NFL season, 56 players appeared on the NFL injury with either a concussion or a head injury, according to PBS’ FRONTLINE program.
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Michael_Guise.