Florida Sun-Times Union reported on Sunday that former MLB infielder Ryan Freel was suffering from CTE, a degenerative brain disease, when he committed suicide last December.
Freel reportedly sustained nine or ten concussions throughout his playing career with Toronto, Cincinnati, Baltimore, the Cubs, and Kansas City. Many of his concussions came from running into teammates in the field or diving over the wall in attemptes to chase foul balls. He became known for his reckless, all-out style of play. His run in the major leagues ended in 2009 with the Royals.
CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Brain testing after Freel’s death revealed that he had Stage II CTE, which includes a variety of side effects that include headaches, short-term memory loss, and depression, among other things.
This diagnosis on Free’s brain provides some closure for Free’s family, as it at least sheds some light on the pain that Freel was suffering through in his life after baseball.