Ohio fans of the late Major League Baseball star Ryan Freel may have heard that the former player suffered from a degenerative brain disease at the time of his December 2012 suicide. The traumatic brain injury syndrome known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy was not the sole reason Freel shot himself, but it was implied to be a factor in a report provided to the athlete's mother and stepfather by the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and Sports Legacy Institute. The report, which said that Freel was suffering from Stage II CTE when he died, was also presented to Major League Baseball officials.
Doctors from Ohio and around the world recently learned about progress in communicating with unconscious or comatose patients. Those who work with individuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury may soon be able to measure the consciousness of patients who are unable to move. The Italian researchers found that as many as 40 percent of patients who were diagnosed as unresponsive have some level of consciousness, which means that they are aware of what is going on around them but cannot signal this understanding verbally or through bodily motion because of their incapacitation.