Former Giants safety Tyler Sash is the latest ex-NFL player with chronic traumatic encephalopathy found in his brain. Sash, who died at the age of 27 due to an accidental overdose of pain medications, had his brain donated by his mother to be tested for the degenerative brain disease.
An issue that has been put under a microscope in recent years, CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head that cause brain trauma. Sash’s mother, Barnetta Sash, had noticed dramatic changes in behavior since he was cut from the Giants in 2013 after what was at least his fifth concussion.
Sash returned to his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa, after leaving the NFL. Not long after moving back, he was arrested for public intoxication and tried evading police on a motorized scooter. He also had been experiencing memory loss, developed a temper and often showed signs of confusion.
Although his mother felt the prescription drugs he was taking were causing his mood swings and outlandish behavior, she still wanted to have his brain examined after he passed away in September.
Wrote Bill Pennington of The New York Times:
Last week, representatives from Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation notified the Sash family that C.T.E. had been diagnosed in Tyler’s brain and that the disease, which can be confirmed only posthumously, had advanced to a stage rarely seen in someone his age.
Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System and a professor of neurology and pathology at the Boston University School of Medicine who conducted the examination, said Tuesday that the severity of the C.T.E. in Sash’s brain was about the same as the level found in the brain of the former N.F.L. star Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at age 43.
Sash is another on what is a growing list of deceased former NFL players with CTE found in their brains.