Au­topsy says for­mer CU star and Heis­man win­ner shot him­self in the head.

1994 Heis­man win­ner was drink­ing, us­ing pot be­fore sui­cide

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kirk Mitchell

Univer­sity of Colorado Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner Rashaan Salaam took his own life by shoot­ing him­self in the head af­ter heavy drink­ing and mar­i­juana use, ac­cord­ing to the au­topsy re­leased Thurs­day.

The cause of Salaam’s death was a gun­shot wound to the head, the Boul­der County coro­ner’s of­fice con­cluded. He was 42 years old.

Salaam’s body was found by a passer-by out­side his girl­friend’s car at Eben G. Fine Park in Boul­der on the night of Dec. 5. He was wear­ing a black short-sleeved shirt, gray sweat­pants and black sneak­ers, the re­port says.

The au­topsy in­di­cated Salaam had been drink­ing heav­ily and us­ing mar­i­juana be­fore dy­ing by sui­cide. A note was also found at the scene. The coro­ner’s of­fice con­firmed his iden­tity with fin­ger­prints.

Salaam had blood-al­co­hol con­tent of 0.25 per­cent, more than three times the le­gal driv­ing limit of 0.08 per­cent. He had 55 nanograms per mil­li­liter of THC in his sys­tem as well, the au­topsy says.

“The dece­dent re­port­edly has a his­tory of de­pres­sion; and re­cent life stres­sors,” the au­topsy says.

Salaam was suf­fer­ing sev­eral health is­sues in­clud­ing mod­er­ate coro­nary ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis, gas­troe­sophageal re­flux disease and tho­racic sco­l­io­sis, the re­port says. Dr. Dawn Homes, who per­formed the au­topsy, also noted Salaam had an old bi­lat­eral rib frac­ture cal­luses.

Salaam’s tat­toos were all item­ized and in­cluded: “be­liever” on the back of his left wrist, “no limit” on the back of his right wrist and “Salaam” on his up­per right arm. On his lower neck was the phrase, “SOUL OF RED AND BLACK FOLKS.”

He was car­ry­ing his U.S. pass­port with him and $63 in cash. He weighed 245 pounds.

The coro­ner’s of­fice asked Salaam’s fam­ily whether they wanted the op­tion of ad­di­tional neu­ropatho­log­i­cal anal­y­sis to de­ter­mine whether he suf­fered from a com­mon con­di­tion for ath­letes suf­fer­ing from re­peated head in­juries called chronic trau­matic en­cephalopa­thy, or CTE, be­fore the au­topsy, but they de­clined.

Salaam’s brother, Ja­bali Alaji, told USA To­day af­ter Salaam’s death that he be­lieved the 1994 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner dis­played “all the symp­toms” of CTE, in­clud­ing de­pres­sion and mem­ory loss.

Deputy Boul­der County Coro­ner Dustin Bueno pre­vi­ously told Boul­der’s Daily Cam­era that CTE ex­am­i­na­tions are not done in rou­tine au­top­sies. He said brain mat­ter would need to be sent to an out­side lab for test­ing, but added that they would do so only with the fam­ily’s per­mis­sion. A “dry” au­topsy was per­formed in ob­ser­vance of his fam­ily’s re­li­gious pref­er­ence, ac­cord­ing to the au­topsy.

Salaam won the award given to col­lege foot­ball’s best player as a ju­nior in 1994 and was se­lected in the first round of the 1995 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. As a ju­nior, he rushed for 2,055 yards and 24 touch­downs as the Buf­faloes fin­ished 11-1.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.