Jovan Belcher murder/suicide report revives debate over concussions and mental illness

The alleged murder/suicide involving Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher earlier today has reignited the debate over traumatic head injuries and their possible link to suicides and violent behavior.

Though details are few at this point, Belcher’s story has echoes of that of professional wrestler Chris Benoit, who killed his wife and son in 2007 before taking his own life. Many have also suggested a link between the suicides of the NFL’s Andre Waters and Terry Long and unreported concussions sustained on the field.

While some are nearly certain head injuries had some contribution to the incident, others call foul on the theory.

Kansas City Star sports columnist Sam Mellinger observes that murder/suicides are a much more common occurrence than this high-profile case would lead one to suspect.

Whatever the long-term impact on football, word is that tomorrow’s scheduled game between the Chiefs and Panthers will go on.

  • mickeyco

    Maybe we could wait- oh, say, 2 or 3 days- and actually get some facts before we start determining why this tragedy occurred?

  • big_phil76

    Since he shot himself in the head they will never be able to confirm or deny CTE.

  • agroulx

    He took the mother of his child away… and killed himself.. I refuse to have sympathy for that fkn coward.. rot in hell.

  • JimmyNeutron

    first thought when I heard this was “I wonder if there will be enough brain left to study”. Not being morbid, just the first thing I thought of. This tells you where the NFL is at. In twenty years it will be a much different game both business-wise and popularity wise. If there were a way to “short” the NFL I would be starting to think about how to lay those bets down. Even without knowing the outcome of this, just people immediately bringing it up – and they were talking about it on radio in KC this morning – makes me think that the tipping point on concussions has been reached.

  • FFlintstone

    Everyone in the NFL has concussions. The vast majority of them never get reported because the players want to play. College and high school football is filled with concussions, too. I never played football passed the age 15 and I had 3 concussions.

    The only NFL players who could plausibly claim they’ve never had a concussion are offensive lineman. Everyone else has had at least one. It just doesn’t get reported to the press. It’s part of the game though.

  • dmacleo

    the day people are forced to play football I’ll give a damn about the concussion issues.
    until then…. to f’ing bad.

    • louisiana_mom

      Amen. These players sign the contract know full well what the risk are, if they want to be exposed to the risks then they shouldn’t sign the contracts. There will be 1,000 other players who are willing to sign in their place.

  • Rico

    I can never feel sorry for a person who takes their own life. However to take the life of your childs mother. Is the most Selfish thinghe coulf ever do.

  • kate_middleton

    Lame. People always want to find some sort of excuse when things like this happen.
    There is no excuse. Dude was 25. I don’t see any other 25 year old NFL players murdering people. He snapped. It’s not the NFL’s fault – it’s his fault.

  • disqus_sFo2VuMHJ7

    everything today is a disorder, your a glutton,you have a eating disorder, a psychotic killer you must have been hit in the head to many times and have a concussion disorder. People are lazy and eat to much others are just plain psychotic lets stop idolizing the murderers and rapist on the field and call it for what it is

  • Peyton

    The concussion issue? There are plenty of normal people with concussions, and plenty of psycopaths, murderers, etc who haven’t ever had one. Stop trying to blame concussions for everything. Sure they suck, but they don’t cause this.

  • Damion Caldwell

    The mental health of student athletes and professional athletes in reference to this story is an issue that needs to be at the forefront as we are losing too many battles. My prayers go out to the girlfriend’s family, Javon, and the Chiefs organization. How many more will we lose to this issue??? More concerning is the next generation of student athletes that are watching how some adults solve personal problems. If you know of an athlete that is having difficulties managing their mental health, have them visit so they can connect with a mental health professional who is a former scholarship athlete that understands their struggle.