A story that may otherwise be passed over by most publications with the exception of Yahoo sports reported the tragic death of Ryan Freel. By his own admission he had perhaps nine or ten concussions in his life. That is at least 7 too many. Freel was a free spirit, playing with wreck less abandon and a true love of the game. Should head trauma have played a part no matter how small the rules of the game need to change. 3 concussions and your career is done. Freel also had a couple of alcohol related encounters with local law enforcement but that does not make his passing any less tragic or any less important to the topic of head trauma and athletics at any level. This is a sad time for the Freel household. Remember them in your prayers and if you know someone that may have experienced similar injuries, do them a favor - check in on them. Let them know you care.
From Yahoo sports:
For someone who amounted to part-timer, Ryan Freel gave a lot of joy to baseball fans. He exhibited a colorful, sometimes bizarre personality and demonstrated an acrobatic, sometimes reckless style of play that took a toll on his career. He was fun to watch and write about. But he also was troubled. And now we are left to wonder why he took his own life.Freel was found dead at his home in Jacksonville, Fla. on Saturday afternoon, victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed via the Florida Times-Union. Freel was 36 years old, leaving a wife, Christie, along with at least two daughters, notes C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Eye on Baseball.
First Coast News of Jacksonville reported his death first.
Freel played in parts of eight major league seasons, seeing action in 594 games — 544 with the Cincinnati Reds — and four other teams, from 2001-2009. He batted .268/.354/.369 with 143 stolen bases and 22 home runs. He logged most of his innings in the outfield, particularly center, but was known for having enough versatility to play third base and second.
He also was known for going all out. He dived into the grass, the dirt and the stands chasing after balls. He would crash into fences. He would collide with teammates. And all of the violence against his body caused him significant harm. Freel said in 2007 after a particularly brutal collision with teammate Norris Hopper that he had "probably nine or 10" concussions in his life, but he couldn't remember for certain.