Troubling new details emerge in death of Demaryius Thomas
The official results of Demaryius Thomas’s autopsy have not yet been released, but some new information indicates that the former NFL wide receiver struggled with significant physical and mental health issues leading up to his death last December.
Doctors from Boston University announced on Tuesday that Thomas has posthumously been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Thomas also suffered from seizures that began after he was involved in a car accident in 2019.
Dr. Ann McKee, the neuropathologist who studied Thomas’s brain, said the ex-Pro Bowler had “two different conditions in parallel.” Seizures are not typically associated with CTE.
According to Ken Belson of the New York Times, those close to Thomas said his behavior had become erratic in the months before he died. Thomas is said to have dealt with memory loss, paranoia and isolation in addition to seizures. The seizures came on suddenly and led to incidents like car accidents and dangerous falls for Thomas. They were also part of the reason he stopped playing in the NFL.
Neurologists told Thomas that his seizures could be related to stress. His anti-seizure medication is said to have made him sluggish and did not stop the episodes. Thomas tried other treatments like ozone therapy and a hyperbaric chamber, but nothing had much of an impact.
After Thomas died, his cousin said the family believes a seizure was the cause. Some former teammates indicated that they were aware of Thomas’s condition.
Thomas, who was 33, was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2010 out of Georgia Tech. He grew into one of the league’s top receivers by his third season in the NFL. He made three straight Pro Bowls from 2012-2014 and four overall during his career.