Posted on August 5, 2013 · Posted in Brain Injury

Cullen Finnerty, a record-setting college football star, had two paranoid episodes that his family was aware of. He died during the second one, alone in a isolated Michigan woods May 28. Officials still don’t know how or why.

Filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the Associated Press obtained access to the police reports about Finnerty’s death. Then in a detailed story, the wire service described the ex-Grand Valley State’s past mental problems and bizarre behavior. Finnerty claimed he was being followed during his Memorial Day fishing trip, and at one point took off his clothes, according to AP.

The question that I and others have asked is whether Finnerty’s mental woes were linked to any head injuries or concussions he sustained while playing Division II college football.

An autopsy failed to determine a cause of death for Finnerty, and officials are still awaiting toxicology reports.

Finnerty went missing in Webber Township May 26, after calling his family twice to say he was being followed. He sounded terrified, according to AP.

But this wasn’t the first paranoid experience that Finnerty had undergone, his wife told investigators. A year and a half ago,  Finnerty drove from Detroit to Grand Rapids, rather than coming home, because he thought the FBI was after him, AP reported. And he stayed in that paranoid state for several days.

Finnerty had been addicted to pain killers at one point, and his wife suspected that he may have taken a drug that was responsible for the paranoia that led to his drive to Grand Rapids.

Memorial Day weekend this year, Finnerty had done some drinking before he said he wanted to go fishing. He set out alone at 8:30 p.m. that Saturday night, and never came back. His body was found that Tuesday night, just a mile from where he disappeared.




About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447