NEW YORK (AP) — A study of former NFL players finds they were unusually prone to dying from degenerative brain disease, the latest indication that repeated blows to the head may cause serious trouble later on.

The death rate from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease combined was about three times what one would predict from the general population, researchers reported.

Prior research had suggested football players were unusually prone to those diseases, said lead researcher Everett Lehman of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, reported online Wednesday in the journal Neurology, looked at death certificates.

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