The brain of Steve Montador, a former NHL player who died in February at age 35, was found to have widespread chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the disease associated with repeated hits to the head.

His family plans to sue the NHL for wrongful death, according to lawyers representing Montador's estate.

Montador becomes the fifth known former NHL player to have had CTE, which can only be diagnosed posthumously. Among its symptoms are memory loss, depression and impulse control. Some show signs of progressive dementia.

Several dozen former NFL players have received diagnoses of CTE, which was long associated with boxing.

Other former NHL players who have been publicly diagnosed with CTE are Reg Fleming, Rick Martin, Bob Probert and Derek Boogaard. Boogaard's family has a pending wrongful-death lawsuit against the NHL through a Chicago law firm that also is representing the Montador family. A group of about 70 former NHL players also has sued the league, accusing the NHL of concealing the risks of concussions.

Montador, a 10-year NHL veteran known for rough play and his willingness to fight, retired shortly after sustaining a debilitating concussion in 2012. He was found dead in his home in Ontario in February. His cause of death has not been made public.

New York Times