It was announced yesterday that Former Reds utility player Ryan Freel died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The fact that Freel estimates that he suffered as many as 10 concussions in his life makes one wonder if they were a contributing factor. Fans of Junior Seau were left with the same questions after his suicide earlier in the year. It's a sobering reminder that sports concussions could mean lasting and possibly life threatening consequences to players.
It's also possible that leaving their pro careers left them alone with their demons. Freel was said to be a quirky guy, but a story he revealed to the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2006 seems more chilling now than funny, considering his passing. He spoke to a voice in his head named "Farney". Freel described an amazing catch to the UT and Farney's reaction:
Freel said the play was beyond belief even for somebody named “Farney.”You know you have to ask.
“He's a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him,”Freel said the day after the play. “That little midget in my head said, 'That was a great catch, Ryan,' I said, 'Hey, Farney, I don't know if that was you who really caught that ball, but that was pretty good if it was.' “Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell 'em I'm talking to Farney.' ”