Cuba Gooding Jr. Thinks O.J. Simpson May Have CTE

The actor suggested that former NFL star may have developed the disease during his football career.

After spending weeks portraying one of the most notorious football players of all time, Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. says he believes O.J. Simpson may suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Gooding, who plays the former football star in "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," speculated about Simpson's mental state in a conversation with HuffPost Live on Monday.

"I believe that after O.J. passes, if we have the opportunity to dissect his brain, we will find the CTE concussion syndrome," Gooding told host Alex Miranda.

The degenerative disease, which was highlighted in the film "Concussion," is found among those who have suffered repetitive head trauma. CTE is linked with mood changes, memory loss and "explosive" behavior and has become a significant topic of conversation among pro football players, especially with posthumous CTE diagnoses for athletes like Frank Gifford.

"If you look at [Simpson's] professional career, he broke records in high school, he broke records in college winning the Heisman Trophy," Gooding said. "He rushed for 2,000 yards in one season, and only six other players have done that in today's NFL, which is 16 games per season. He did it in 14 games. The abuse his brain must have taken to achieve these things, there has to be something to be said."

Gooding isn't the only one to theorize that Simpson suffered brain damage throughout his famed football career. Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who first discovered the illness among football players, told People magazine last week that it's likely Simpson could have CTE. In fact, he "would bet [his] medical license on it."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Cuba Gooding Jr. here.  

"American Crime Story" premieres Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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