Researchers Study Former USC Player Kevin Ellison’s Brain to Better Understand CTE

Kevin Ellison of the USC Trojans looks on before the game against the Oregon Ducks on Oct. 4, 2008, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. (Credit: Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

Kevin Ellison of the USC Trojans looks on before the game against the Oregon Ducks on Oct. 4, 2008, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. (Credit: Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

The brains arrive at all hours in white cardboard boxes stamped “RUSH!” Inside each package is an inch-and-a-half-thick foam liner and a red bag protecting an ordinary white plastic bucket.

When a courier service delivered Kevin Ellison’s brain to the Bedford VA Medical Center near Boston just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 22, Dr. Victor Alvarez performed the routine he has done so many times that he’s stopped counting.

The neuropathologist unpacked the box, weighed the brain and examined it for contusions or hemorrhages. He snapped dozens of pictures with various exposures to capture differences in shape and color not apparent to the naked eye.

Alvarez processes most of the brains donated to the partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University CTE Center and the Concussion Legacy Foundation. He moves with care and speed, knowing each brain represents a family searching for answers.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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