|Born:||May 6, 1952|
Durham, North Carolina
|Died:||November 3, 2015 (aged 63)|
Los Angeles, California
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||230 lb (104 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1974 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Frederick Arnold McNeill (May 6, 1952 - November 3, 2015) was an American professional football player who was a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL) for 12 seasons from 1974-1985. He played college football for the UCLA Bruins. In 1973, he was named to the All-Coast/Conference First Team. McNeil was selected by the Vikings in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft with the 17th overall selection. He was the first person to have been diagnosed with CTE while alive and have it confirmed following his death.
He played on defenses that led the NFC in fewest points allowed in 1976 and the NFL in fewest total yards allowed in 1975 and fewest passing yards allowed in 1976.
During his last campaign with the Vikings, he began his studies at the William Mitchell College of Law, where he graduated at the top of his class. He eventually became a partner with a Minneapolis, Minnesota area law firm following his NFL career.
In his later years he was diagnosed with dementia, and was formally diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in 2009. In March 2014 he received a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He died of ALS on November 3, 2015 at the age of 63. Following his death Doctor Bennet Omalu conducted an autopsy on McNeil and confirmed the CTE diagnosis.
McNeill was married to Tia McNeill and they had two sons, Fred Jr. and Gavin. McNeill was the unnamed individual in a study published online in the journal Neurosurgery, where evidence of CTE was observed during scans while he was still alive and confirmed during an autopsy following his death. These results may help in detecting CTE in living individuals and help to improve understanding and treatment.
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