The father of former Patriots defensive tackle Ron Brace, who died April 23 at age 29, spoke at his son’s funeral Monday, telling a packed St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield that it is still not known what caused his son’s death, though he suspects brain damage from his football days is to blame.
“This concussion stuff is serious,” said Ronald J. Brace Jr.
“Ron had an extraordinary amount of concussions. I believe the concussions had something to do with his death.”
Ronald J. Brace III was a Springfield native and played at Boston College before being selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played four years in the NFL.
Although a cause of death hasn’t officially been released, the Globe reported that Brace apparently had a heart attack.
Brace Jr. said his son, who was listed at 6 feet 3 inches and 329 pounds in his playing days, had dealt with concussion symptoms, noting that he had fainting spells, crashed his car, and once collapsed in a CVS store.
Concussions and the early deaths of former NFL players have been ongoing topics around football in recent years.
In a study conducted last fall, the brains of 87 of 91 former NFL players that were donated to research showed traces of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.