On December 9, 2021, Demaryius Thomas was found dead in his Georgia home. The family believed the former Denver Broncos wide receiver suffered a seizure while taking a shower.
On Tuesday, a team of doctors at Boston University announced through The New York Times that Thomas’ brain revealed he suffered from Stage 2 CTE. CTE is a brain disease that stands for ‘chronic traumatic encephalopathy’ and it is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head and is exacerbated by concussions.
“He had two different conditions in parallel,” Dr. Ann McKee told the NYT.
Dr. McKee is the Boston University neuropathologist who studied Thomas’ brain and she told The New York Times that seizures are not a condition commonly linked to CTE.
Thomas had Stage 2 CTE and also suffered from these terrible seizures but reading between the lines, it’s too soon to say that the two “parallel conditions” are connected. Thomas played football for most of his adult life but he was also involved in a car accident in Denver where he rolled his vehicle at 70 miles per hour, which caused his head to collide with the windshield at a high velocity.
The family seizures Thomas would go on to suffer from seemed to stem from the accident. What ties they may have had to his CTE condition we don’t yet know — and it’s possible we’ll never be certain.
Thomas suffered two officially diagnosed concussions as a player, one in college at Georgia Tech and one in the NFL.
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The tragic loss of Thomas (age 33 when he passed away) still reverberates throughout Broncos Country and the NFL. The Broncos, and his former teammates and even guys he never got the chance to play with, honored him during the team’s remaining games down the stretch of the 2021 season with the No. 88 decal being painted on the field at Empower Field at Mile High.
Originally drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2010, Thomas would become one of the team’s most prolific wideouts of all time. He competed in two Super Bowls with the club, winning one (2015), and left Denver as the No. 2 leading receiver in team history, behind only Rod Smith.
Thomas retired from the NFL on June 28, 2021. He passed away less than six months later.
Rest in peace, D.T.
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