Former NFL Player Vincent Jackson, 38, Died of 'Chronic Alcohol Use,' Medical Examiner Says |

Former NFL Player Vincent Jackson, 38, Died of ‘Chronic Alcohol Use,’ Medical Examiner Says

Former NFL player Vincent Jackson’s cause of death has been revealed.

via People:

According to the autopsy report released Wednesday by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner, Vincent died of “chronic alcohol use,” USA Today reports.

The 38-year-old ex wide receiver had a blood-alcohol content of 0.28 percent when he was found dead in his hotel room earlier this year, according to the news outlet. USA Today adds that the autopsy report lists Vincent’s manner of death as “natural.”

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Authorities found Vincent dead inside a room at the Homewood Suites in Brandon, Florida, on Feb. 15, just days after his family reported him missing.

After the discovery, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office told PEOPLE in a statement that the family suspected Vincent suffered from alcoholism and the effects of repeated concussions throughout his football career.

Those sentiments were confirmed last week when Vincent’s widow, Lindsey Jackson, announced he had been officially diagnosed with CTE, a condition caused by repeated impacts and concussions to the head. 

“Vincent dedicated so much of his life to helping others. Even in his passing, I know he would want to continue that same legacy,” Lindsey said in a statement released by the Concussion Foundation and provided to PEOPLE.

“By donating his brain to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, we hope to continue to see advancements in CTE research, enabling physicians to diagnose the disease in the living and ultimately find treatment options in the future,” she added. “There is still a lot to be understood about CTE, and education is the key to prevention. The conversation around this topic needs to be more prevalent, and our family hopes that others will feel comfortable and supported when talking about CTE moving forward.”

The findings were supported by Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology for the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the BU CTE Center and VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank.

“Vincent Jackson was a brilliant, disciplined, gentle giant whose life began to change in his mid-30s. He became depressed, with progressive memory loss, problem-solving difficulties, paranoia, and eventually extreme social isolation,” McKee said in a statement. “That his brain showed stage 2 CTE should no longer surprise us; these results have become commonplace.”

A day prior, McKee announced that another former NFL player, Phillip Adams, who killed six people before killing himself in April, also had stage 2 CTE.

A number of players like Philadelphia Eagles safety Andre Waters and former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, who died by suicide in 2016 while serving a life sentence for murder, have been diagnosed with CTE after death.

“More than 300 NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE,” Chris Nowinski, founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, said in a statement. “I hope current and former NFL players of Mr. Jackson’s generation see this as a wake-up call and get off the sideline in the fight against CTE.”

“If a four-time Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee who never had a diagnosed concussion can lose his fight against CTE at just 38,” he said of Vincent, “it can happen to anyone.”

Vincent played for the San Diego Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his professional career. He caught 272 passes for 4,754 yards and 37 touchdowns during his seven seasons in San Diego, according to NBC Sports. After signing with Tampa Bay in 2012, he was good for 268 catches for 4,326 yards and 20 touchdowns in 63 games.

So sad. We really need to take a collective stance against CTE — it’s causing too much tragedy.

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