Demariyus Thomas had CTE when he died in December at age 33.
The news that Thomas had been posthumously diagnosed with Stage 2 CTE, which is shorthand for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, was announced Tuesday by doctors at Boston University in the New York Times.
CTE is a brain condition that is caused by forcible blows to the head.
Thomas, the former star wideout for the Denver Broncos who played for the Jets in 2019, was found dead in his home on Dec. 9. Family members believed he had a seizure while showering.
Thomas was involved in a car accident in Denver in 2019, and had been suffering seizures at haphazard times between then and his death.
“He had two different conditions in parallel,” Dr. Ann McKee, the BU neuropathologist who studied Thomas’ brain, told the Times. She said that seizures are not a condition that is typically linked to CTE.
It is unclear the extent football played a role in the CTE diagnosis.
Thomas’ 2019 car accident occurred when he lost control of his vehicle while driving 70 miles per hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone. The car flipped and Thomas’ head cracked the windshield.
Regarding known concussions the wideout sustained while playing football, Thomas suffered one in college and one in his NFL career.
Thomas played on the Broncos from 2010 through the middle of the 2018 season, when he was traded to the Texans. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion who was widely regarded by fans and teammates.