A new autopsy report released Wednesday revealed former San Diego Chargers wideout Vincent Jackson died of chronic alcohol use.
Jackson, who was found dead in February in a Florida hotel room, had a blood alcohol content of about .28 grams per deciliter and the manner of his death was “natural,” according to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s report. The report notes that Jackson, 38, also suffered from the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
Jackon’s family previously divulged that he had stage 2 CTE and said the longtime NFL standout used alcohol to deal with the side effects of head trauma during his career. They also say Jackson’s brain will be donated to Boston University for a CTE study.
A 2017 study published by Boston University researchers determined that CTE was found in 99% of the studied brains obtained from NFL players and in 91% of the brains from college football players.
In a statement to WFLA last week, Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology for the VA Boston Healthcare System, called Jackson a “brilliant, disciplined, gentle giant whose life began to change in his mid-30s.”
“That his brain showed stage 2 CTE should no longer surprise us; these results have become commonplace,” McKee said. “What is surprising is that so many football players have died with CTE and so little is being done to make football, at all levels, safer by limiting the number of repetitive subconcussive hits.”
Drafted by the Chargers out of Northern Colorado in 2005, Jackson played seven seasons in San Diego where he earned two of his three Pro Bowl selections in 2009 and 2011. He signed a five-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and played his last season there in 2016.
Jackson finished his NFL career with 540 receptions, more than 9,000 receiving yards and 57 touchdowns in 155 games.