Reporting Steve Large
KANSAS CITY (CBS13) – Speculation on Monday continued as to what caused an NFL player to snap, reportedly killing his girlfriend before taking his own life over the weekend.
Police say Jevon Belcher shot his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their 3-month-old daughter, multiple times, then drove to the team’s practice facility and shot himself in front of his head coach and general manager.
“Wake up every morning and I’m thankful for the opportunity.” Those were Belcher’s words three years ago. Family and friends say he was always smiling.
But Belcher ended his life Saturday, bringing to six the number of NFL players who have committed suicide in the past two years.
That’s led to questions about the role possible head injuries may have played in their cases.
George Visger is a former San Francisco 49er who suffers from the effects of concussions. He receives treatment at a Sacramento hyperbaric oxygen clinic.
He’s battled judgment issues and memory loss and has become an advocate for NFL player safety and healthcare.
“There’s some issues going on with your judgment,” he said. “It’s been the dirty little secret that nobody wanted to talk about, swept under the rug, and guys were embarrassed to talk to about it.”
An anonymous friend of Belcher is quoted on the sports website Deadspin saying: “As far as what led to this tragic incident, I would say a combination of alcohol, concussions, and prescription drugs put him in a state that he would not otherwise be in.”
“When it comes to his concussions; if you review the footage of the Cincinnati game he took a few hits to the head directly [...] He was dazed and was suffering from short term memory loss. He could not remember the events that had taken place prior to that game or what he had said to get Kasi to return home.”
The couple had reportedly had problems, prompting Perkins to move out of their home, but she’d returned around Thanksgiving.