Jul 6, 2022 - Sports

Demaryius Thomas' family says player had stage 2 CTE

Demaryius Thomas smiles looking down as he stands with his mother and father after a game as they smile and congratulate him
Demaryius Thomas leaves the field with his mom, Katina Smith, and dad, Bobby Thomas, after a 2016 game. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Former Georgia Tech standout Demaryius Thomas had stage 2 CTE, a degenerative brain disease associated with hits to the head, when he died in December 2021, doctors from Boston University announced Tuesday.

  • Thomas, who was 33, also suffered from seizures that began after a 2019 car crash. Doctors believe he most likely died after a seizure, the New York Times reported.
  • The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office hasn't given an official ruling on his cause of death.

Between the lines: Seizures are not usually associated with CTE, but the combination of the two conditions shed light on the depth of Thomas' agony in his final months.

  • A Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos, Thomas exhibited erratic behavior, while also experiencing memory loss, paranoia and isolation, friends and family told the Times.
  • He took anti-seizure medication and tried ozone therapy, a hyperbaric chamber and massages, but nothing worked.

What they’re saying: Thomas' mother, Katina Smith, who lives in Dublin — southeast of Atlanta and east of Macon, in middle Georgia — told Good Morning America that her son would often tell her, "Mom, I don't know what's goin' on with my body — I gotta get myself together … I don't feel like myself anymore."

  • Bobby Thomas, his father, told the Times, "He spent a lot of money on his body and look what happened, you know? … I didn't know that he was that bad off."

What’s next: Thomas' family is working with Dublin officials to plan a Demaryius Thomas Day on July 16. They’ll release 88 balloons, the same number as his Broncos jersey number.

Go deeper with the full New York Times story.

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