The curious case of O.J. Simpson’s alleged and actual indiscretions might all point back to a severe brain injury. According to Dr. Bennett Omalu, the man who inspired Will Smith’s starring role in the film Concussion, Simpson is be suffering from the disease he discovered: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Omalu was so confident in his hypothesis, that said he was willing to bet his license on it.
“O.J. Simpson is more likely than not to suffer from CTE,” Omalu said. “I would bet my medical license on it.”
Dr. Omalu notes that Simpson “was exposed to thousands of blunt force trauma of his brain” during his storied career in the NFL. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, Simpson was heralded as one of the greatest running backs in history during his 11-season tenure with the Buffalo Bills. In 1973, he became the first running back to rush more than 2,000 yards in a season. He also spent a year with the San Francisco 49ers.
And while Simpson’s contributions to the sport have gone down in history, his infamous 1995 murder trial in the death of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman would become another marker for his name. Though found not guilty in the controversial verdict, Simpson is currently serving prison time after being charged in 2007 with armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas.
Though CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death, some symptoms lead Dr. Omalu to believe Simpson has the degenerative disease, including explosive, impulsive behavior, impaired judgment, criminality and mood disorders. Norman Pardo, Simpson’s former business manager, also attested to Simpson having a large head, for which he needed a custom helmet.
“If you have a bigger head that means your head is heavier,” Omalu told People magazine. “That means the momentum of your impact would be bigger. It’s basic physics.”
Though Dr. Omalu hasn’t pointed to Simpson’s proposed CTE as a defense against his criminal activity, he is continuing to urge the masses to take the disease seriously.
“I think because of our intoxication with football we are in some type of delusional denial. But that is how serious this is,” he said.