Study reveals former Reds Ryan Freel suffered from Stage II CTE brain damage

Concussions ended Freel's career

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A study of the brain of former Reds baseball player Ryan Freel reveals he suffered from the degenerative brain disease CTE.

That is what ESPN reported Freel’s family said about the ball player who killed himself with a shotgun in February 2012. Freel spent six seasons with the Reds and retired in 2010 after sustaining nine or 10 concussions during his career, injuries that may have lead to CTE.

The Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and Sports Legacy Institute conducted the study on his brain.

"Oh yes (it's helpful), especially for the girls," Freel's mother, Norma Vargas, said of his three children, speaking of the study to the Florida Times-Union. "We adults can understand a little better. It's a closure for the girls who loved their dad so much, and they knew how much their dad loved them. It could help them understand why he did what he did. Maybe not now, but one day they will."

The results of the study gave Freel’s family a physical reason for his suicide, Freel’s father added.

"It's a release in that there was a physical reason for what he did," Clark Vargas told the Times-Union. "On the other side, for me, Ryan fell through the cracks."

The complete medical study should be published in 2014 in a medical journal.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known as CTE, is known to cause headaches, loss of attention and concentration, depression, explosivity and short-term memory loss as it progresses to stage II, according to ESPN’s reporting on the study. That was the condition of Freel’s CTE.

Freel ended his baseball career in a minor league deal in Texas.

Click here to read the full ESPN story.

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