The brain of former University of Colorado and NFL linebacker Drew Wahlroos, who killed himself earlier this month, has been donated to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center.

Wahlroos, 37, died Sept. 2 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday that Wahlroos' brain has been donated to Boston University, where researchers have conducted extensive studies on traumatic brain injuries in football players.

It wasn't known whether Wahlroos' family requested the donation, or if Wahlroos left instructions before his death.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, has been linked to memory loss, depression, aggression and suicidal behavior, and a recent study by Boston University found that 99 percent of players who donated their brains for research were found to have evidence of CTE.

Officials at Boston University on Tuesday said they could not comment on individual cases or donations.

But Maria Ober, Boston University School of Medicine's assistant dean of communications, said all brains that are donated undergo a complete neuropathological examination to test for CTE and other neurodegnerative diseases.


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Wahlroos is the second well-known Buff to die by suicide in the last year, after former running back Rashaan Salaam killed himself in December.

Though Salaam's family members expressed concerns that the Heisman winner suffered from CTE, they did not donate his brain for research for religious reasons.

Wahlroos' suicide is similar to that of San Diego Chargers legend Junior Seau, another former NFL linebacker who died after shooting himself in the chest — a move many believe was designed to preserve his brain for research.

It was later discovered Seau suffered from CTE, which can only be diagnosed by examining a brain postmorten.

Originally from Poway, Calif., Wahlroos played for the Buffs from 1999 to 2002. After graduating, he briefly played in Europe before signing with the NFL's St. Louis Rams, appearing in 21 games over two seasons, primarily on special teams.

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars