Former Giants safety suffered from brain disease: report

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CTE Found in Dead 27-Year-Old NFL Player

(Reuters) - Tyler Sash, who was cut by the New York Giants after several concussions and died of an accidental overdose of pain medications, suffered from the degenerative brain disease CTE, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Sash, who was 27 when he died last September, is the latest in a tragic list of former NFL players found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is linked to repeated head trauma.

A sixth-round draft pick of the Giants in 2011, Sash was primarily a reserve for the team during two seasons with the club, including the Super Bowl-winning campaign in the NFL's 2011 campaign.

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Sash, who had suffered at least five concussions in his football career by the time the Giants cut him in 2013, had bouts of confusion, memory loss and fits of temper and had trouble keeping a job after returning home to Iowa, his mother, Barnetta Sash, told the Times.

She blamed much of the behavior on the powerful prescription drugs he was taking for a football-related shoulder injury that needed surgery, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Nonetheless, after his death she donated his brain to be tested for CTE, which can only be diagnosed posthumously, that has been found in dozens of former NFL players.

According to the report, representatives from Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation notified the Sash family that the CTE diagnosed in Tyler's brain had advanced to a stage rarely seen in someone his age.

The doctor who conducted the examination said the severity of the CTE was about the same as found in the brain of late Hall of Famer Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 43, the Times said.

Some 5,000 former players sued the NFL, claiming it hid the dangers of repeated head trauma, and agreed to a settlement that could cost the league $1 billion. The settlement is under appeal.

Sash's family would not be eligible for a reward under the terms of the proposed settlement because only the families of players who died and were found to have had CTE before the settlement was approved in April 2015 may receive compensation for that disease, the report said.

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Former Giants safety suffered from brain disease: report
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Tyler Sash of the New York Giants poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 10: Tyler Sash #39 of the New York Giants plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the preseason game on August 10, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Tyler Sash attends the 10th Annual ESPN The Magazine Pre-Draft Party at The IAC Building on April 24, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 5: Tyler Sash #39 of the New York Giants celebrates a play against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Giants defeated the Patriots 21-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 16: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Tyler Sash #39 of the New York Giants in action against the Buffalo Bills on October 16, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Bills 27-24. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Tyler Sash #42 of Iowa works out during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2012, file photo, New York Giants' Tyler Sash (39) takes a moment before the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game against the New England Patriots in Indianapolis. Former Iowa football star Tyler Sash, who later player two seasons with the New York Giants, has died, according to the Iowa State medical Examiner's office. Sash, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Giants in 2011, was 27. No cause of death has been determined, but an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
Iowa's Tyler Sash runs off the field after his team's 35-3 win over Iowa State in this NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, in Ames, Iowa. Sash had three interceptions in the win. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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