The Mass Shooter in Maine Had Evidence of Severe Injury in His Brain, But Not CTE!

The Concussion Legacy Foundation reports that brain tissue samples taken from the gunman in October’s massacre in Lewiston, Maine, who slaughtered 18 people at a bowling alley and restaurant, demonstrated signs of traumatic brain injury but did not indicate the neurological illness chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Certified firearms instructor and US Army reserve Robert Card, 40, had been hospitalized and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation around three months before the shootings. The Army records show that he did not have any combat tours. Two days following the shootings on October 25, Card’s body was discovered; he had shot himself.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation released a statement on Wednesday stating that Card’s exposure to “thousands of low-level blasts” while training at an Army hand grenade range is believed to have been significant.

Problems with focus and memory, irritation, and delayed reactions are some of the symptoms that have been linked to low-level blast exposure. According to studies, individuals who have been exposed to low-level blasts, such as those in the police force or the military, may have an increased amount of proteins in their blood that are linked to traumatic brain injury.

“Due to the combined history of military experience and actions,” the Maine Chief Medical Examiner’s Office ordered a postmortem investigation of Card’s brain from the Boston University CTE Center, according to a statement made in December by Lindsey Chasteen, the office’s administrator. Nevertheless, she made it clear that the results of his autopsy would remain unaffected by the findings.

Maine Mass Shooter’s Brain Tissue

Robert Card was found to have suffered from traumatic brain damage, as per the research. Wednesday, Dr. Ann McKee, who heads BU’s CTE Center and frequently collaborates with the Concussion Legacy Foundation, revealed that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was not detected.

Our findings are in line with our earlier investigations on the impact of blast injuries in both humans and animal models. Our previous research indicates that a brain injury might have had a role in Mr. Card’s symptoms, but I cannot state with certainty that these pathology findings are the source of his subsequent behavioral anomalies.

The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are severe shaking or blows to the head, both of which can disturb the brain within the skull. In addition to moderate (often referred to as a concussion) to severe symptoms, this illness can cause imbalance, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and changes in behavior, among other things.

A devastating brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can develop as a result of recurrent head trauma or shaking. Symptoms such as despair, anger, and amnesia can only be officially diagnosed after death through the use of brain samples taken during an autopsy.

The Army sent Card a “Command Referral” to a mental health facility after he reported “hearing voices” and had concerns about “hurting other soldiers,” according to a federal law enforcement official who spoke with CNN.

The card was taken to the Keller Army Community Hospital at the US Military Academy for a “medical evaluation” after being reported for “behaving erratically” by Army Reserve personnel, according to a National Guard spokesperson who verified the incident to CNN.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation reports that David Card’s family has approved the continuation of brain tissue research.

Our deepest regrets and condolences go out to the victims’ families and everyone else in Maine and beyond who has been affected by this tragic incident. We wish we could undo what happened; words cannot convey how much our hearts hurt for you.

Although they are powerless to reverse what happened, Robert’s family is sharing the findings of his brain research in the hopes that others will take note and take precautions to avoid a repeat. The Chief Medical Examiner’s office of Maine has our gratitude for requesting the brain analysis.

We are grateful to Dr. McKee for shedding light on the potential impact of Robert’s brain damage on his mental health and behavior; nevertheless, this does not relieve him of complete responsibility for the horrific suffering he caused.

Publication of these findings serves to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the armed forces and to demand more services for individuals who have experienced TBIs.

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