(Reuters) - A judge in Ohio on Friday sentenced former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter to more than 10 years in prison for a phony ticket scheme and granted his request to have his damaged brain donated to science after he dies.
A court-ordered mental examination of Schlichter, 52, found damage to the frontal lobes of his brain, a likely result of some 15 concussions he suffered during a stellar career at Ohio State University and in high school, said his attorney, Steven Nolder.
"The brain deficits he suffered are commonly linked to depression, impulsivity, flawed judgment and repetitive behavior," Nolder said in a telephone interview.
U.S. District Judge Michael Watson in Columbus, Ohio, agreed to Schlichter's request that, should he die in prison, the Bureau of Prisons would send his brain and spinal cord to Boston University's high-profile center that conducts research on the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma.
The brain of retired star linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in California this week, is also going to be examined for evidence of repetitive injuries from his playing days, a family friend said on Friday.
More than 1,500 former football players have sued the NFL over head injuries, including more than 100 who filed suit on Thursday in federal court in Atlanta.
Schlichter was drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the fourth pick of the 1982 National Football League draft but compulsive gambling that he said began in high school led to his leaving the league within two years.
The schemes for which he was sentenced to 10 years and seven months netted some $2 million from investors who Schlichter had promised tickets to Super Bowl and Ohio State games. The tickets were never purchased and Schlichter admitted pocketing the money.
Reporting By Andrew Stern; editing by Greg McCune and Mohammad Zargham