Last spring the football world was rocked by the sudden passing of record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan. Nearly a year later, new details into his death have been revealed.
According to Brandon Sneed of Sports Illustrated, an examination of Brennan’s brain revealed that he had at least one stage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). But the full extent of how bad his CTE was could not be determined due to the nature of his death.
Brennan overdosed and stopped breathing in the early morning before being found by paramedics. But because he stopped breathing, his brain didn’t receive enough oxygen, causing a massive stroke that caused permanent brain damage.
After the brain damage was deemed irreversible, he was allowed to die. The autopsy ruled that Brennan died from the “combined toxic effects” of ethanol, methamphetamines, amphetamines and fentanyl.
Due to the damage of the stroke, researchers could not determine to what extent Brennan was living with CTE at the time of his passing. But it was clear that the 37-year-old former quarterback had at least CTE Stage I.
Heisman Trophy runner-up Colt Brennan, who died at 37, had #CTE.
Investment in research on the intersection of #CTE, #TBI, mental health & substance abuse is urgently needed! It is hard to process what we see week after week in men who were the best of us https://t.co/57SowILLeY
— Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. (@ChrisNowinski1) February 25, 2022
In three seasons at Hawaii, Colt Brennan turned the Rainbow Warriors into a national powerhouse. He set records for touchdowns, yards, passer efficiency and completion percentage under June Jones.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was leading the Warriors to their first-ever Sugar Bowl appearance after going 12-0 in the 2007 regular season. They would enter as the No. 10 team in the AP poll but were trounced by the Georgia Bulldogs.
Brennan would go to Washington in the 2008 NFL Draft, but he never played a down. A car accident in 2010 caused a traumatic brain injury that began a spiral into alcohol and drug use. He never fully recovered.