Ex-NFL Player Who Killed 7, Including Self, in Shooting Had ‘Unusually Severe’ CTE, Researchers Say


A former NFL player who shot and killed six people before taking his own life was suffering from a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), researchers say.

Philip Adams’ brain was found to have “unusually severe” frontal lobe damage from being hit in the head repeatedly during his six-season football career, according to a team of University of Boston researchers who were asked to study his brain.

Police investigating the April shooting found no motive for the attack. The only connection seemed to be that Adams, 32, lived in the same South Carolina neighborhood of his victims: Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, two of their grandchildren and two air conditioner repairmen who happened to be in the home at the time.

Lisa McHale, whose husband suffered from CTE, worked on the Boston University study.

“They’re not the person that they used to be, and they sense that and they know that. And that’s extremely disconcerting as a family member, but imagine what that’s like for the person suffering from the disease. And it’s very, very common that they ask the family, ‘Would you please see that my brain is studied, if anything should ever happen to me?’” McHale said.

Adams’ former agent Scott Casterline said Adams was a changed man.

“Just not who he was. He played with my kids, he played with my family. He was family. He stayed with me. Just helps to make sense out of a senseless tragedy,” Casterline said.

Autopsies performed on 111 NFL players found all but one had signs of CTE.