Kevin Turner passed away from a battle with ALS in March at the age of 46.
It was revealed by Boston University brain researchers on Thursday that the former Alabama fullback had an advanced case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma,” according to Boston University.
In May 2010, Turner was one of the leading plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuit filed against the NFL by former players. He also donated his donated his spine and brain to Boston University researchers, according to the New York Daily News’ Michael O’Keefe.
“The severity of Mr. Turner’s CTE was extraordinary and unprecedented for an athlete who died in his 40s,” said Ann McKee, the director of Boston University’s CTE Center to the Daily News. “While he had typical cognitive symptoms and problems with impulse control associated with CTE, it also appears that CTE decimated the motor cortex of his brain at a young age, likely leading to his ALS symptoms.”
According to the Daily News, Turner had Stage IV CTE, which is the disease’s most advanced stage.
“We believed the extreme severity of Kevin Turner’s disease is related to his 25-season career and the fact that he began playing tackle football at age 5, while his brain was still rapidly developing and more vulnerable,” Boston University professor Robert Cantu said, per the Daily News.
Turned played for Alabama from 1988-91 where he rushed for 1,018 yards and six touchdowns, as well as 95 catches and 928 receiving yards.
The New England Patriots selected Turned with the team’s third-round pick in the 1992 NFL Draft. He played three seasons with the Patriots and five with the Philadelphia Eagles, finishing his career with a total of 11 touchdowns.