A complicated portrait of Jovan Belcher (pictured) has emerged in the days after he reportedly snapped, unloading nine bullets in to the Mother of his 3-month-old daughter on Saturday morning. Belcher allegedly dropped the weapon and fled from his home in upscale Independence, Mo., in his Bentley. Later, outside the Kansas Chief’s practice facility at Arrowhead Stadium, where he was a linebacker, he talked briefly with staff and the general manager in the parking lot before delivering a fatal gunshot wound to his head. “I got to go,” he said. “I can’t be here,” according to the Daily News.
Belcher apparently made the statement after realizing the gravity of shooting Kasandra Perkins, 22, his girlfriend and Mother of his daughter, Zoey. Reportedly, Belcher and Perkins argued, after he returned home from a night of drinking with another woman. Belcher and Perkins reportedly had a strained relationship and his mother was at their home to babysit. But many questions remain: did violent collisions on the playing field cause Belcher to snap or were other factors at play?
Here is what has been reported so far about a possible concussion. A friend told the sports website Deadspin that the linebacker suffered from short-term memory loss following a Nov. 18th game against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to the New York Daily News. Since 2011, at least five other NFL players have committed suicide, including Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Kurt Crain, O.J. Murdock, and Ray Easterling. Autopsies of Duerson and Easterling found that both showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
But Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told ABC News that Belcher was “a player who had not had a long concussion history,” even though he was a three-time all-America wrestler and a star on the football team at his West Babylon, N.Y., high school.
And the violence was so dramatic that other emotional stressors were likely at play, said David Grand, a Manhattan and Long Island-based sports psychotherapist and author of “This Is Your Brain on Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good!“:
“You could be talking about a 100 other guys going through the same sort of thing,” Dr. Grand, who never treated Belcher, told NewsOne about athletes dealing with concussions. “Ninety-nine other guys do not go out and kill their girlfriends. A concussion could have exacerbated whatever other problems he was having. You may start to hear news reports or evidence of violence toward women in the past.
Want to Keep Up With NewsOne.com? LIKE Us On Facebook!
“This is extreme behavior,” Dr. Grand said. “It’s as extreme as it gets. There is something in a person’s early history where they were abused or exposed to abuse to have something like this happen. But it’s hard to diagnose someone if you haven’t treated them. I would, however, start trying to answer some of these questions by looking at the family he grew up with, not to point fingers but to seek answers.”