Autopsy shows former NFL star died of brain bleed after mysterious fall, conscious before he died

By Ariel Zilber For and Associated Press

Medical examiners investigating last week’s death of Keion Carpenter say that the former NFL star died from blunt force trauma to the head which he sustained when he fell hard to the pavement.

The autopsy performed on the body of the 39-year-old Carpenter indicates that the official cause of death was acute epidural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain,TMZ reported.

Still, authorities cannot say for certain what caused Carpenter to inexplicably fall in the first place.

The former safety for the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons was on vacation with his family in Miami when he collapsed while playing with his son on December 28.

Keion Carpenter   Keion Carpenter

Carpenter fell into a coma for 24 hours before being pronounced dead at Jackson South Community Hospital.

‘They were running to the car when he slipped, fell, hit his head and slipped into a coma. It was just a freak accident,’ Carpenter’s cousin, Jamila Smith, said.

‘He was always healthy; he went to the doctor, ate well and worked out.’

Investigators told TMZ that Carpenter had just one alcoholic beverage on the day that he collapsed.

Family: Carpenter leaves behind his wife Tonia, three daughters, Kymiah, Kennedy, and Kierra, and a son, Kyle (Carpenter above with his four children)

As they were leaving after a family trip to Black Point Marina, Carpenter raced his son to their car.

When he came to a complete stop by his car, he grabbed the side mirror and collapsed to the ground.

‘He did not make any attempts to stop his fall, striking the back of his head on the ground,’ the autopsy report said.

After his wife called 911, Carpenter regained consciousness and was responsive to the paramedics who were rushing him to hospital in an ambulance.

Carpenter had told them that he was feeling hot and that his head was hurting.

During the ride to the hospital, he suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma.

While the autopsy noted that Carpenter suffered 'several' concussions during his playing days, his family has not permitted doctors to examine his brain, making it impossible to determine whether repeated blows to the head may have caused him to fall

He died 24 hours later.

The medical examiner did note in the report that Carpenter sustained ‘several’ concussions during his playing career, though that was not cited as a reason for the collapse.

Carpenter’s family has requested that his brain not be examined any further.

In recent years, the NFL has been rocked by a string of former players who have either died not long after their playing careers ended or have suffered prolonged symptoms that greatly affect their quality of life.

Recent medical and scientific research indicates that a number of former players committed suicide due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative condition believed to have been brought on by repeated blows to the head.

Because CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously, players or their families would have to consent to allow their brains to be examined.

The Supreme Court last month rejected the final two challenges to the estimated $1billion settlement between the NFL and thousands of its former players who have been diagnosed with brain injuries linked to repeated concussions.

Players who already have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or dementia could begin receiving payments within the next three months.

In the decade since he retired from football, Carpenter had devoted himself to his non-profit organization The Carpenter House, which aims to help low-income families and children realize their academic and economic potential through a number of services.

Carpenter leaves behind his wife Tonia, three daughters, Kymiah, Kennedy, and Kierra, and a son, Kyle.

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