Jeff Parker, the former Buffalo Sabres forward who died in September, suffered from advanced stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain ailment commonly known as CTE.
Parker's brain was donated to the CTE Center at Boston University, and officials have told The New York Times that they found Parker was in Stage 3 of the four-stage disease.
"We called it Stage 3 because it was significant,” Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the CTE Center, told The Times.
Parker was part of the lawsuit brought by former players against the NHL claiming it failed to warn them of the dangers of repeated blows to the head. The lawsuit is continuing in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, where a judge is weighing whether to affirm its class-action status.
The NHL claims there is no link between head trauma and CTE. Parker joins former Sabres Rick Martin and Steve Montador and fellow NHLers Reggie Fleming, Bob Probert, Derek Boogaard and Larry Zeidel in having CTE discovered posthumously.