The mother of a University of New Mexico football player who died by suicide last year may be filing a lawsuit against the school in the near future.
Lawyers for Vicki Gilmore, mother of Nahje Flowers who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on the morning of Nov. 5, have filed a notice of claim with UNM. A notice of claim is to make UNM aware that a lawsuit may be filed and the university has an opportunity to respond before such action.
“Workup for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was performed,” on Flowers’ brain and he did not have CTE, according to an autopsy report filed by medical investigator Dr. Lauren E. Dvorscak of UNM School of Medicine on Jan. 6. “While tau deposition was present focally, its presence in this case does not meet the diagnostic criteria for CTE,” the report reads, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Flowers had a history of depression, and a police report included texts that revealed him relating to friends the day he committed suicide that his medications for the disorder were not working. Flowers had also been do in court on the day he died over petty misdemeanor charge that involved accusations he’d keyed a car.
Then-UNM football coach Bob Davies was asked a few days after Flowers death whether mental health resources for student-athletes at the school were sufficient.
“Everybody did their best,” Davie said at the time, declining to comment further.
Just this month, UNM offensive lineman Teton Saltes, quarterback Tevaka Tuioti, athletic director Eddie Nuñez and New Mexico State A.D. Mario Moccia lobbied for a bill for funds that would be appropriated for behavioral health services at UNM and NMSU. Flowers’ death, they said, is proof that the funds are needed.
“The circumstances that led to his suicide are not unique to only him,” Saltes said.
The committee voted 7-0 to endorse a bill that appropriates $500,000 to both UNM and NMSU for behavioral health services, according to the Journal. A proposed $357,000 appropriation for nutrition and behavioral health services for UNM student-athletes was vetoed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham during last year’s legislative session.