Last September, former Giants safety Tyler Sash died at the age of 27. And while an autopsy later revealed that his death occurred as a result of him taking a lethal mixture of methadone and hydrocodone—he was reportedly using the drugs to treat a shoulder injury—the New York Times just published a report indicating that Sash was also dealing with another big problem at the time of his death.
According to the NYT report, Sash’s mother Barnetta Sash donated his brain to the Boston University School of Medicine and the Concussion Legacy Foundation after he died. They concluded that Sash—who suffered at least five concussions during his 16-year football career—was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in the final years of his life. CTE is, of course, the degenerative brain disease that has been found in many former football players. But what’s interesting in Sash’s case is that his CTE was extremely advanced. Dr. Ann McKee, the chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System who was responsible for examining Sash’s brain, noted that his CTE was as advanced as 43-year-old Junior Seau’s CTE was when he committed suicide in 2012.
As part of their report, the NYT spoke with Sash’s mom about his life in the years leading up to his death, and she had some heartbreaking things to say. She talked at length about how confused Sash was at times and how he made a series of bad decisions that seemed out of character for him.
“My son knew something was wrong, but he couldn’t express it,” she said. “He was such a good person, and it’s sad that he struggled so much with this—not knowing where to go with it. Now it makes sense. The part of the brain that controls impulses, decision-making, and reasoning was damaged badly.”
You can read the full NYT report here. So sad.
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[via New York Times]