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O.J. Simpson’s Former Doctor Talks Possible CTE Symptoms

Was O.J.
Simpson suffering from a sports-related brain injury at the time of his 1994
arrest?

A former NFL
physician who examined him after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald
Goldman says it’s possible.

In an
interview with Access Hollywood’s Stephanie Bauer airing on Friday, Dr. Robert
Huizenga explained why knowledge of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), the degenerative neurological disease found in many
retired football players, might have played a role in Simpson’s defense had it
been available. 

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I think it could have been
important in the O.J. Simpson case and may have been part of the reason he was
in a mindset to do things that doesn’t really make sense, that someone else
might not have done
,” he said.

Huizenga told Access that while Simpson
did not experience an excessive amount of head injuries during his days on the
field, his actions could be similar to those observed among CTE sufferers. 

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He didn’t have the classic
head hits, but he did get multiple sub-concussive head hits and clearly he
showed a number of ways — lack of judgment and some other subtle signs — that
could have been consistent [with CTE]
,” he told Access. “Not to
mention other acts that may have been signs of incredibly erratic behavior and
signs of aggression.

The former NFL doctor and author
of the book “You’re Okay, It’s Only a Bruise” testified in the 1995 criminal
trial which found Simpson not guilty, and said he was tasked with assessing Simpson’s
physical and mental state.  

Aggressive behavior is one
of the earlier symptoms [of CTE], sometimes before outright dementia. … It was
up to me to try to figure out what [Simpson’s] medical health was and [if] were
there any extenuating circumstances that might account for someone for being
overly aggressive
,” he said.

When asked about a recent
“Good Morning America” segment in which Simpson’s former manager
Norman Pardo said he “doesn’t understand a lot of things” and is
“like a child,” Huizenga
said that points to signs of Simpson’s declining acuity.

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I think if that, in fact,
is true then that would be further evidence of CTE, a progressive neurologic
damage of his brain going basically to the third and fourth stage of
dementia
,” Huizenga told Access. 

— Erin Biglow

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