RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An autopsy report concludes that former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling had a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated concussions when he died this spring.
The Virginia medical examiner's report found that Easterling's brain had signs "consistent with the findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy," a progressive degenerative disease that can be caused by multiple concussions.
Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in April in Richmond, Va. He was 62.
The autopsy report was provided Friday to The Associated Press by Mary Ann Easterling, who is among the thousands of plaintiffs suing the NFL. The autopsy's findings were first reported by The New York Times.
Easterling played for the Falcons from 1972 to 1979. He helped lead the team's "Gritz Blitz" defense in 1977.