“There is no way to say [Ryan Freel's] neurodegenerative disease was the cause of his death or the tumultuous 10 years prior to his death,” said Dr. Bob Stern, a neurology and neurosurgery professor and a co-founder of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy....Will parents overreact and take their kids out of sports? That would be stupid. I assume sports also alleviate depression and some of those sedentary kids, plunging their brains into computers and televisions, descend into suicide. The message is only: Don't get your head knocked hard.
The B.U. Center’s examination of athletes has focused on football, and research published earlier this year indicated that of 35 deceased players whose brain matter was inspected, all but one showed signs of C.T.E. Several were suicide victims. One of the most prominent players, Dave Duerson, had attained the third stage of C.T.E.
Stern said he was initially skeptical that a baseball player would develop the disease. Then he learned during the investigation not only about Freel’s history of collisions with outfield walls and other players but that his first of several concussions unrelated to sports may have occurred at age 2....
“I don’t think baseball is going to become a high-risk activity for C.T.E.,” he said. “I don’t think parents should immediately say: ‘That does it. My kid should not play Little League.’ ... [But] we need to pay better attention to our brains. Try to take the head out of these activities."
December 17, 2013
Now, playing baseball "with abandon" is connected (in the NYT) to suicide.