CNN; December 15, 2013
When he was on the baseball field, Ryan Freel was unafraid to fling his body, and his head, into plays -- diving after balls and crashing into outfield walls.
That fearlessness earned the undersized Freel a spot in the big leagues, as well as a raft of concussions.
Now, nearly a year after his death, Freel has the distinction of being the first Major League Baseball player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine.
"The real important issue is that he hit his head multiple times -- small hits, big hits, in baseball and outside of baseball," said Robert Stern, co-founder of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at BU.
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