Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ryan Freel, MLB player who committed suicide suffered from brain disease CTE

Major Leaguer Ryan Freel Suffered from CTE Before His Suicide
  Major Leaguer Ryan Freel Suffered from CTE Before His Suicide

MLB player who committed suicide suffered from brain disease CTE

Ryan Freel, who had 10 concussions throughout his career, suffered from disease common in athletes

Former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a brain disease often associated with frequent concussions — when he committed suicide last year, according to his family.

Freel, who reportedly suffered 10 concussions during his career, is the first professional baseball player shown to have had CTE. 

The disease has been tied to repeated hits to the head, and it more commonly affects football players, hockey players and boxers.
Freel's family said they obtained his results from the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and Sports Legacy Institute.

Several former football and hockey players in recent years have been found to have been suffering from CTE after committing suicide.

Earlier this month, five former football players filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City Chiefs, claiming the team’s management hid information and even lied to players about the risks of head injuries. 

The suit is the latest in a string of legal actions taken against the National Football League (NFL) and other professional sports leagues over the impact of head injuries sustained during competition.

CTE, which has been linked to dementia and loss of decision-making control, can be diagnosed only by examining a person's brain after death. However, researchers with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hope to develop tests to detect and treat CTE while the patient is alive.

"This is a public health problem," Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders, told Reuters.

   "We don't know the mechanics of the head injuries that lead to this, the number and severity that is required to get this. 
We don't know whether certain people based on their genes are more susceptible or not. 
There are a lot of questions to be answered."

Freel, who was 36 at the time of his death in December 2012, died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound. 
A Boston University report confirmed that Freel, who retired in 2010 after eight seasons in the major leagues, had been suffering from Stage II CTE at the time he died, the Florida Times-Union reported. 

Freel's mother, Norma Vargas, told the paper that the report would serve as some semblance of "closure" for Freel's three children. 

"It could help them understand why he did what he did. Maybe not now, but one day they will," she said.  

Al Jazeera and wire services


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