Tyler Sash, Former NFL Player, Found to Have CTE in Postmortem Study

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2016

New York Giants safety Tyler Sash runs back an interception during NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Months after his death in September, former New York Giants safety Tyler Sash was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy—a degenerative brain disease commonly known as CTEby Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation, according to the New York Times' Bill Pennington

Dr. Ann McKee of the Boston University School of Medicine, who conducted the examination of Sash's brain, said the safety's case of CTE was severe for a 27-year-old. Results of the study concluded Sash had Stage 2 CTE—on a 0-4 severity scale—which may have contributed to his accidental overdose on pain medication.

"Even though he was only 27, he played 16 years of football, and we're finding over and over that it's the duration of exposure to football that gives you a high risk for CTE," McKee said, according to Pennington. "Certainly, 16 years is a high exposure."

The report also mentioned Sash suffered "at least" five concussions and dealt with "confusion, memory loss and minor fits of temper."

According to Pennington, citing McKee, the severity of Sash's CTE was the same as Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau's at the time of Seau's suicide in 2012.      

In 23 regular-season appearances across the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Sash tallied 17 solo tackles and a forced fumble while operating primarily as a backup in the Giants secondary. Sash also recorded two solo tackles and three assisted tackles during the Giants' 2011 Super Bowl run.