The good news on Seau front: Researchers discover he had significant brain damage

Posted: 01/10/2013 in football
Tags: , , ,

It is good to learn that the brain of the late Junior Seau was discovered to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has played a role in a few other former NFL players’ suicides.

The former San Diego Chargers’ star shot himself to death last May and his family donated his brain to researchers, who determined that Seau’s brain was badly damaged due to the repeated head blows absorbed over his long football career.

Readers who frequent this Website know I wasn’t the least bit surprised when Seau committed suicide. The spin control put forth over Seau’s driving off a cliff in Oct. 2010 raised red flags in my mind about his mental stability and my initial thoughts upon hearing Seau was dead of shotgun wounds led me to predict they were self-inflicted.

His death stunned and saddened San Diegans as Seau is one of the most-beloved figures in the city’s sports history. And the masses couldn’t understand why such a successful person who did so much for others would pull the plug on his own life.

That’s why it is an outstanding development for researchers to have made this discovery. Seau’s family can finally make sense over why he would take his own life and it is important to have this determination per the concussion cloud that is currently hanging over the sport.

I keep reading that Seau never was reported to have a concussion on a weekly NFL injury report. That may be true but I know there was an underlying belief that he was dealing with one during one week of the six seasons I covered him when he was on the Chargers.

Seau practically disappeared from view that week. Usually, he was quick to get his television time in front of cameras during the media’s availability sessions but he was more invisible than a ghost in the week I’m reflecting on. Whatever was going on was hush-hush and Seau played that Sunday and everybody moved on.

I personally suspect Seau had multiple concussions in his lengthy career – he downplayed other injuries so he certainly would do the same with getting his bell rung. And this revelation of having CTE in his brain starts to shed light on why a once-proud superstar would pull the trigger and end his own life at the young age of 43.

The NFL has been well behind the curve when it comes to former players dealing with concussion issues and having Seau added to the list is going to turn up the pressure.

Just think of that day when Seau gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Seau won’t be around to give an impassioned speech and instead the focus will be on how the sport he gave so much to eventually took away everything from him.

Seau’s legacy in football is far from over. In fact, it may be about to reach new heights.


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