Ryan Freel, the former Major League Baseball player, had been suffering from a progressive brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound last year, said his family on Dec. 15. According to a Florida newspaper, a report detailing Freel’s medical condition was presented to Freel’s parents and representatives from Major League Baseball at winter meetings for the sport being held in Lake Buena Vista.
Freel is the first baseball player to receive a diagnosis of CTE, which has been the subject of study in other more high-contact sports including hockey, boxing and football. Freel had been hospitalized in 2007 following a collision with another player during a game and had suffered brain trauma several times during his career. In addition to his CTE diagnosis, Freel had suffered from anxiety, depression and had a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder.
Researchers caution that CTE studies in athletes is a fairly new field and may not be the only cause of suicide among athletes. There may be other contributing factors such as genetics, substance abuse issues and mental illness. A former Harvard football player and the co-founder of the Sports Legacy Institute said that the findings regarding Freel’s condition should serve as a reminder to baseball officials to watch for possible brain injuries among players.
A traumatic brain injury can permanently alter a person’s life. Depending on the severity of the injury, a victim may not be able to work or perform other activities of daily living. If the accident was caused by the negligent actions of someone else, the victim and his or her family might be entitled to financial compensation. A skilled Florida personal injury attorney may be able to advise and assist the plaintiffs with a personal injury lawsuit.
Source: Fox News, “Family says late MLB player Ryan Freel had chronic traumatic encephalopathy”, December 16, 2013