LANSING, Mich. – An autopsy shows a former Division II college football star who disappeared in the Michigan wilderness during a late-evening fishing trip died of pneumonia caused by inhaling his own vomit.
The report released Thursday also suggests Cullen Finnerty's disorientation and paranoia in the woods May 26 may have been exacerbated by a combination of the painkiller oxycodone and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The degenerative brain disease has been found in a number of ex-football players.
Chief Medical Examiner Stephen Cohle reports Finnerty, 30, became incapacitated before inhaling his vomit 65 miles north of Grand Rapids.
Though relatives reported Finnerty had a number of alcoholic drinks the day he died, Cohle says his blood-alcohol level was negligible and didn't contribute to Finnerty's incapacitation.