(Reuters) - An autopsy has confirmed that former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill was suffering from brain trauma when he died last year at 63, CNN reported on Thursday.
McNeill, who appeared in two Super Bowls for the Vikings, is the latest National Football League player to be confirmed to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is closely associated with the repeated head blows common in boxing, hockey, football and other contact sports.
McNeill played for the Vikings from 1974 to 1985 and died last November from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He suffered from dementia in his later years.
McNeill’s family was told an autopsy showed he had CTE, confirming a doctor’s diagnosis made before he died, CNN said. CTE can lead to dementia and aggression and has been a factor in the suicides of prominent former NFL players.
A study of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler’s brain following his death last year showed signs of CTE, a specialist said this week.
Stabler’s brain was the 90th of 94 former NFL players studied by Boston University researchers to show indications of CTE.
The CNN report came days before Sunday’s Super Bowl in Santa Clara, California, where the Denver Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers for the NFL championship.
Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney