(NEWSER) – Before he died of a heart condition at age 25, Michael Keck told his wife that he wanted to donate his brain to Boston University. The former football player thought he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE),NBC News reports, the degenerative brain disorder caused by repeated blows to the head that has made headlines in recent years for affecting NFL players.

Doctors, performing an autopsy on Keck's brain, confirmed his self-diagnosis in a case study published Monday in JAMA Neurology. "It was the worst CTE I've seen in an individual this young," study coauthor Dr. Ann McKee says. Keck's 16-year football career began when he was 6 years old, the study notes. During that time, he sustained more than 10 concussions, the first when he was 8. "That's a lengthy exposure," says McKee. "Brain injury is cumulative."

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