Former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel had a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when he committed suicide last year, his family announced Sunday, the Florida Times-Union reported.
The report was done by the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and Sports Legacy Institute. The findings were given to Freel’s family and to representatives of Major League Baseball on Dec. 11 at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista.
The report confirmed that Freel was suffering from Stage II CTE when he committed suicide on Dec. 22, 2012, by way of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Freel retired in 2010 after an eight-year career in the majors. He reportedly suffered “nine or 10″ concussions in his career.
In recent years, chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been associated with former football players who sustained repeated head injuries in their careers. Freel is the first baseball player to be diagnosed with CTE.
According to the Times-Union report, researchers say CTE cannot be considered the only reason an athlete commits suicide.