Scientists Will Determine If Phillip Adams Had CTE

Family agrees to allow former NFL player's brain to be tested in wake of SC killings
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2021 9:30 AM CDT
Scientists Will Determine If Phillip Adams Had CTE
The entrance to a property where multiple people, including a prominent doctor, were fatally shot a day earlier, is seen Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Rock Hill, S.C.   (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

The question of whether former NFL player Phillip Adams suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy will eventually be answered. The 32-year-old killed five people in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Wednesday, and York County Coroner Sabrina Gast on Friday said that Adams' family had agreed to allow his brain to be tested for CTE as part of the autopsy. Her office has contacted Boston University researchers to request their assistance. The AP reports the university has a center dedicated to CTE research. CTE is thought to be caused by repeated head trauma, and Adams' former agent told CNN on Friday of one instance in 2012 where Adams experienced two concussions over three games played for the Oakland Raiders. "I think the football messed him up," Adams' father said in a Thursday interview.

As for the killings, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said "there's nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us." He says Adams went to the home of Dr. Robert Lesslie, shot two air conditioning technicians who were working outside, killing James Lewis. Adams then entered the home and killed Lesslie, wife Barbara, and their 5- and 9-year-old grandchildren Noah and Adah. Tolson has not confirmed whether Adams was a patient of Lesslie. An AP source says he was, and the New York Times reports GOP Rep. Ralph Norman of SC said the same in a Thursday interview. "He was treating him and stopped giving him medicine and that’s what triggered the killings from what I understand," Norman said. The results of the CTE tests won't be available for months. (Adams' sister has said her brother's "mental health degraded fast and terribly bad.")

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