An autopsy of Steve Montador's brain shows the former NHL defenseman had degenerative brain disease.
The 35-year-old Montador, who had multiple concussions during his career with six NHL teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks, died in February at home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Montador signed a four-year contract with the Blackhawks in 2011, but his season was cut short by concussion issues after he suffered a head injury during a game March 27, 2012. He never returned to the ice after the injury.
The former defenseman's brain was donated to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at Toronto's Krembil Neuroscience Center for analysis. Dr. Charles Tator says the autopsy showed widespread chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, throughout Montador's brain.
Montador's family plans to sue the NHL after finding out about his CTE, according to ESPN.
After experiencing several concussions, Montador suffered from depression, erratic behavior and memory problems.
The Sports Concussion Project has analyzed the brains of 16 athletes, with roughly half showing signs of CTE or the presence of another neurodegenerative disease.