The former NFL player accused of killing six people in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in April reportedly had stage 2 CTE, according to doctors who examined Phillip Adams’ brain.
Phillip Adams had “unusually severe” chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, when he fatally gunned down six people before taking his own life. His brain scans were comparable to those of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who also suffered from the condition and died by suicide in 2017 while serving a life sentence for murder, said Boston University’s Dr. Ann McKee, who conducted the examination on Adams’ brain tissue.
“We have seen this behavior. We have even seen homicidal behavior in others diagnosed with CTE,” McKee said.
“It is difficult to say that it alone resulted in these behaviors because usually, it’s a complicated issue with many other factors,” she said. But “it is, in fact, not what I would consider unusual in this disease.”
McKee added that the 32-year-old was suffering from stage two of the condition, which may have contributed to his “behavioral abnormalities.”
Adams fatally shot Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara Lesslie, and two of their grandchildren. Adams also killed two air-conditioning technicians.
Police later found Adams dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Adams’ family agreed shortly after his death to have his brain tested for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is the degenerative disease linked to head trauma and concussions that has been shown to cause a range of symptoms, including violent mood swings and memory loss.
Adams played in 78 NFL games for six teams over six seasons. He joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick out of South Carolina State. He then went on to play for New England, Seattle, Oakland and the New York Jets before finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.