This is no surprise: Former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Easterling, who committed suicide earlier this year, had the brain disease that’s been linked to repeated concussions in athletes.
Easterling’s widow, Mary Ann Easterling, released the results of a medical examiner’s report on her husband to the Associated Press on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The report said that an exam of Easterling’s brain found evidence “consistent with the findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE),” a degenerative disease connected to repeated blows to the head.
Easterling committed suicide, fatally shooting himself at age 62, in April at his home in Richmond, Va. After his retirement from the game, he exhibited symptoms of CTE, such as depression and dementia. His cognitive functions were diminished, he began to act oddly and he had bad mood swings.
According to the Times, Easterling’s neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Gregory O’Shanick, said that the autopsy showed that the former player had “neuropath change” that was consistent with CTE.
Earterling’s widow, by the way, is one of about 3,000 defendants that are suing the National Football League, alleging that the league concealed the fact that repeated concussions can lead to long-term brain damage.