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Shane Dronett's Brain Disease Linked To NFL Concussions, According To Researchers

Shane Dronett, a 10-year NFL veteran who played six seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, committed suicide in January 2009 after suffering for years from paranoia, nightmares, and sudden anger. He was diagnosed in 2007 with a benign brain tumor. According to new research, Dronett suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease that has been found to affect certain football players who've endured concussions.

Former Cincinnati Bengals WR Chris Henry, who died in 2009, was found to have the condition, as did four-time Pro Bowler Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest in order to preserve his brain for science.

Treatment of the tumor did little to relieve Dronett's suffering. Just before he took his own life, he pointed the weapon at his wife.

The CNN story linked above includes reflections from Dronett's family, detailing his episodes of baffling rage and panic. It's tough to read, especially for those of us who remember Dronett as a key part of the best season in Falcons history.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.