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Seau’s family decides to allow brain to be studied

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Chargers chaplain Shawn Mitchell tells Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that the family of Chargers linebacker Junior Seau has decided to allow his brain to be studied.

Seau died Wednesday of a gunshot wound to the chest.  His death has been ruled a suicide.

Per Farmer, the family has not yet determined which group will conduct the study.  The two leading — and competing — groups are the Sports Legacy Institute at Boston University and the Brain Injury Research Institute.

Mitchell said that the family hopes “to help other individuals down the road.”

Seau played pro football for 20 seasons.  All but one came before the NFL launched its current efforts to ensure that players who have suffered concussions are removed from play and to protect certain defenseless players on each side of the ball from helmet-to-helmet hits.

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46 Responses to “Seau’s family decides to allow brain to be studied”
  1. greedleague says: May 4, 2012 7:05 AM

    Sounds like the family is as classy as Junior seemed to be. Best thoughts.

  2. londonfletcher says: May 4, 2012 7:11 AM

    Make helmets safer! Who doesn’t get that??

  3. jenniferxxx says: May 4, 2012 7:19 AM

    Money makes the world go ’round …

  4. clevelandschronic2 says: May 4, 2012 7:22 AM

    RIP to a real legend. Dude was a freak of nature on the field and a inspiration to everyone till those last moments. (i dont agree with suicide another argument for another day) hope the studies they do arent linking anything to football. Prayers for the family

  5. gdpont says: May 4, 2012 7:53 AM

    The Seau family deserves our deepest and sincerest gratitude for being so generous and thoughtful in the midst of their terrible grief and suffering.

  6. leatherhelmets says: May 4, 2012 7:53 AM

    And the friday night lights crowd, the thumpers and couch potatoes will all cry foul when the results show that Junior did suffer from CTE. How many more players will have to suffer through this?

  7. bigwinintx says: May 4, 2012 7:54 AM

    Two “competing” institutes?

    That sounds as morbid as it is. Let the family decide and don’t try to persuade one way or another, but right now, just let them grieve.

    By the way; how long after they found out it was a shot to the chest, did the vultures send out the henchmen to ask for the brain?

    I know they’re trying to do the right thing but these people are sometimes very ruthless.

  8. poohman1975 says: May 4, 2012 7:54 AM

    If they decided to have it studied sooner they may have found out what was wrong with him and saved his life.

  9. k0mbucha says: May 4, 2012 8:01 AM

    Hard but good decision by the family!

  10. mikebrownschangepurse says: May 4, 2012 9:12 AM

    this is very sad But will everyone please quit acting like the only people that die early or commit suicide are ex football players… isnt suicide one of the leading causes of death in the world or somethin? yes study his brain but you may only find that he was depressed and sad.. ive known quite a few people who chose suicide to stop whatever pain they are goin thru and they didnt play football…

  11. Steeley McBeam says: May 4, 2012 9:14 AM

    Not to sound like a jerk but it would be pretty easy to kill a former NFL player these days… Shoot him in the chest and lay the gun down next to him. They will declare it a suicide within a day

  12. comeonnowguys says: May 4, 2012 9:23 AM

    “londonfletcher says: May 4, 2012 7:11 AM

    Make helmets safer! Who doesn’t get that??”

    Who’s going to make the helmet for the brain inside the skull?

  13. sj39 says: May 4, 2012 9:34 AM

    Make helmets safer! Who doesn’t get that??

    For what? So idiots can get their rocks off by watching large men bash their heads together? Get bact to leather helmets, proper wrapping up and tackling and the game of football not the perverted MMA gladiator version we have now.

  14. weaponx73 says: May 4, 2012 9:34 AM

    Poohman thanks for volunteering your brain for research it will prove valuable in understanding the mysteries of how one becomes a gigantic douche.

  15. geezohman says: May 4, 2012 9:36 AM

    In todays ‘day and age’, it’s the right thing to do.

    Google the 1970′s Steeler center – Mike Webster… Wiki… wow… what the older generation of football players went through…

    Need Troy Aikman and Merril Hoge to talk about it more, except they want their jobs. I heard Merril Hoge had a lot of memory problems.. not finding his way home forgetting….

  16. notmanning says: May 4, 2012 9:45 AM

    Oh, make helmets safer, eh? Simple as that.

  17. sariff420 says: May 4, 2012 9:47 AM

    Selfish

  18. polapea says: May 4, 2012 10:11 AM

    londonfletcher says:May 4, 2012 7:11 AM

    Make helmets safer! Who doesn’t get that??
    ———————————————————-
    I hate to do this but, to quote Diddy “it’s all about the benjamins”. The NFL forces all equipment suppliers to pay multi-million dollar fees to be liscenced and used by the teams. I’m sure there are plenty of helemt co’s that could provide safer helmets but they don’t want to pay the millions for the privilege.

    Think about the helmets the military uses, they can stop bullets you don’t think those same co’s could make a helemt which would cut down on concussions?

    NFL hypocrisy at it’s best.

  19. hawaiifunfnull says: May 4, 2012 10:31 AM

    Making helmets safer is definitely part of the solution, but it won’t solve all problems related to brain injuries.

    Brain injuries occur from external hits to the skull. But they also occur when the brain, which “floats” in liquid within the skull, impacts with the interior of the skull.

    Helmet technology will probably help with external hits, but will do little to help with these internal impacts. Researchers believe, but have not definitively proven, that these repeated internal impacts are a part of what causes CTE.

    And solving concussion issues is only part of the problem. It is thought that players may develop CTE even if they never have an actual concussions because repeated sub-concussive events may also cause CTE.

    So, safer helmets are part of the solution, but they cannot be a complete one.

  20. Grulks says: May 4, 2012 10:37 AM

    londonfletcher wrote:
    Make helmets safer! Who doesn’t get that??
    ————
    polapea wrote:

    The NFL forces all equipment suppliers to pay multi-million dollar fees to be liscenced and used by the teams. I’m sure there are plenty of helemt co’s that could provide safer helmets but they don’t want to pay the millions for the privilege.

    Think about the helmets the military uses, they can stop bullets you don’t think those same co’s could make a helemt which would cut down on concussions?
    ==========
    No, No No. Not correct at all, on either of your accounts.

    It has very little to do with helmet safety. Is there room for improvement in helmets? Yes.
    Would the most safe helmet in the world prevent or even significantly reduce concussions? No.

    Concussions occur because the skull stops moving, and the brain keeps going, resulting in the organ colliding with the skull cavity. That is a 100% medically proven fact. Look up what causes a concussion, you will see I’m not making that up. No helmet out there can stop in internal organ from moving, by padding the external surface.

    The analogy here would be putting on a huge rubber bumper onto a car, to restrain the passengers from going through the windshield (without airbags or seatbelts). There just isnt a practical way to make a bumper big enough and elastic enough to protect the passengers on impact. Same principle applies to helmets.

    The only way to effectively reduce concussions is change the behavior of how you can hit the players.

  21. unlost1 says: May 4, 2012 10:50 AM

    this is bad. researchers are going to come up with some half-baked hypothesis and then the NFL will alter their rules.
    It’s not his brain, it’s his heart because of the divorce.

  22. j0esixpack says: May 4, 2012 10:51 AM

    I think they realized that in copying Duerson, Seau effectively DID leave a suicide note expressing that he had an inkling that head trauma may have played a role in his illness.

    For those who don’t realize it, this type of brain examination cannot be conducted on the living.

  23. sdboltaction says: May 4, 2012 10:52 AM

    @ polapea

    Military “kevlars” may get lucky and deflect a bullet. But, and speaking from experience, they suck and jarred my head around pretty good. I don’t get how kevlar laced football helmets that deflect bullets are going to help football players avoid concussions…. lol

  24. j0esixpack says: May 4, 2012 10:56 AM

    To those saying “make helmets safer” I don’t think money or licensing is the problem.

    Helmets that stop bullets have no relevancy here. We are talking about blunt trauma of a person’s head moving forward with great force – then being stopped with great force.

    The skull may stop but the brain sloshes forward with great force and trauma. I don’t think the is a helmet that can stop that from happening.

  25. jerruhjones says: May 4, 2012 11:04 AM

    It’s sad about Junior, no doubt. But…when large, strong men use their heads like battering rams how can anyone be surprised that their brains get damaged?

  26. matzahballz says: May 4, 2012 11:09 AM

    A wonderful gesture by his family to donate his brain for the hope that it helps educate everyone better on CTE, my thoughts and prayers with the family.
    There has been a suggestion in the past of the NFL revert back to not wearing helmets. Studies have shown that in Rugby there is a much lower % of concussions and/or trauma to the head/brain because it forces the players to tackles properly “closing the gate” if you would. It’s not the answer but def something to consider.

    RIP JR55!

  27. brokea$$lovesmesomeme says: May 4, 2012 11:19 AM

    Its my understanding that they will not comment(BU) about specific brains, they will merely say that there is significant brain injury. Is true?

  28. moochzilla says: May 4, 2012 11:24 AM

    Joe,

    That’s actually been the focus of US military helmets as of late. The casualties from concussion are growing as the wars we fight are now typically against insurgents using explosive devices.

    So people are “on it”, I just hope they find a solution. I don’t know how successful they’ve been in designing a better helmet for the troops, or if that would be the solution for the collisions we see in the NFL.

    Else, I can see a day when High Schools start dropping football because of liability issues. That can happen if nothing changes. Hard as it is to believe.

  29. pacificamjr says: May 4, 2012 11:37 AM

    sad story, even sadder is that as Christians, we believe that those who commit suicide go to hell. It’s never ok to destroy God’s gifts!

  30. benbilk33 says: May 4, 2012 11:38 AM

    mikebrownschangepurse says:May 4, 2012 9:12 AM this is very sad But will everyone please quit acting like the only people that die early or commit suicide are ex football players…
    ———————————–
    Its not just about suicide. Its about the trauma ex players go through as a result of injuries from football. They love the game enough that they accept the risks associated with it daily but only recently have the long term effects been known. Fact is the life expectancy for a U.S citizen is 78 yrs and for an nfl player it is 58 and its a known fact they physically and mentally suffer after their playing days are done. they know the risks. But love the game so much in many ways this is to protect them from themselves.

    I do love the game and want to see it changed as little as possible while protecting the players from long term issues.

  31. garonm says: May 4, 2012 11:46 AM

    Joessixpack you are absolutely correct. There is no way to make helmets safer. These doctors who are doing these studies put it best. You could have a 1.5 foot wide helmet at the point of impact and the 1/16″ of fluid that protects your brain from the skull will compress along with your brain. The reason is hat some of these hits are like 80 G’s for milliseconds. Even some of the smallest hits are like 10 to 20 G’s on the brain. You do that a few thousand times or more and there is no way to stop what is happening. The NFL is getting faster and so I think we will see a lot more cases of CTE in the near future…

  32. benbilk33 says: May 4, 2012 11:51 AM

    @mikebrownschangepurse…..and no suicide is not close to the leading cause of death. Its in the top ten but let’s not minimize it and act like its as common as heart attacks.

  33. londonfletcher says: May 4, 2012 11:53 AM

    If somebody were to come out and say that they couldn’t make helmets more shock absorbant, I would call BS 100x over. For Gods sake, look at all the safety equipment on cars now-a-days, and you’re going to tell me that improving a helmet can’t/won’t happen and wouldn’t make a difference anyway? Even if it were a small amount, that’s better than nothing.

    The simplest analogy I can come up with is imagine running head first in brick wall, then run head first into a brick wall with a mattress in front of it. Big difference, right? Just on a larger scale.

  34. exhelodrvr says: May 4, 2012 12:26 PM

    Certainly helmets could be improved to make the deceleration at least somewhat more gradual, but not to the extent that that would be a complete solution.

    I wonder if the researchers will also go back through game film to try to get an idea how many of the collisions that he went through had potential for brain damage. It’s not just the actual concussions – the cumulative effect of the less significant, but far more frequent, impacts can be worse than the effect of the actual concussions. Considering the amount of film available oover the past 20-25 years, they should be able to get a pretty good idea of the number of “incidents” he was involved in.

  35. NationalFanatic says: May 4, 2012 12:28 PM

    Any time you have a JOB that requires you to wear a helmet, pads, bullet proof vest, carry a gun or chainsaw, EXPECT BAD THINGS!

    That’s why I have a DESK JOB and type all day…

    You could make $10 per hour or $10 million per year, it’s all the same if you have to wear body armor or weapons. At some point, you’ll either get HURT or DIE.

    Some people are just WIRED different, and the Helmet wearers of this earth can expect bad things man. Granted, a self inflicted gun shot wound on your day off or after you’re retired can’t be predicted…

  36. mullman7675 says: May 4, 2012 12:38 PM

    pacificamjr says:
    May 4, 2012 11:37 AM
    sad story, even sadder is that as Christians, we believe that those who commit suicide go to hell. It’s never ok to destroy God’s gifts!

     1 6 
    ———————————————————————————
    Keep your religion away from my football. I don’t care what your archaic beliefs are. To be so blinded to think that one religion is the be all end all is laughable. Science trumped religion a long time ago.

    RIP Junior- May you finally be at Peace

    go Raiders

  37. leatherhelmets says: May 4, 2012 12:40 PM

    Well putt exhelodrvr. It is about the cumulative. The non-detected.
    Most people are still stuck on this and think it only applies to concussions.

  38. leatherhelmets says: May 4, 2012 12:41 PM

    Well put exhelodrvr. It is about the cumulative. The non-detected.
    Most people are still stuck on this and think it only applies to concussions.
    sorry for the duplicate post

  39. crisper57 says: May 4, 2012 12:42 PM

    This is a tough call to make when the pain is so fresh. Kudos to the family for thinking of others when by all rights, they don’t have to be worrying about anyone but themselves right now. Thank you.

  40. polapea says: May 4, 2012 12:48 PM

    sdboltaction says:May 4, 2012 10:52 AM

    Military “kevlars” may get lucky and deflect a bullet. But, and speaking from experience, they suck and jarred my head around pretty good. I don’t get how kevlar laced football helmets that deflect bullets are going to help football players avoid concussions…. lol
    ———————————————————-
    Not saying kevlar would necessarly help. It’s speaking more to the fact that there are helmet co’s that that can produce a better product but due to licensing issues they can’t provide their product to players.
    NFLPA has raised the same issue with the league.

  41. polapea says: May 4, 2012 12:55 PM

    Grulks says:May 4, 2012 10:37 AM

    Concussions occur because the skull stops moving, and the brain keeps going, resulting in the organ colliding with the skull cavity. That is a 100% medically proven fact. Look up what causes a concussion, you will see I’m not making that up. No helmet out there can stop in internal organ from moving, by padding the external surface.
    ———————————————————-Well aware of the mechanism of injury when it comes to consussions. But if a helmet can absorb / transmit the energy around the head it will make a difference. Similar to a crumple zone in a car.

    Mandatory mouthpieces would also make a huge difference.

  42. idkid1980 says: May 4, 2012 1:03 PM

    “But will everyone please quit acting like the only people that die early or commit suicide are ex football players… isnt suicide one of the leading causes of death in the world or somethin?”
    ********************************************
    @mikebrownschangepurse Sure, there are others who choose suicide, and sure it’s a leading cause of death; however, you’re ignoring the fact that NFL players commit suicide at 6 times the rate of the rest of us. That’s pretty significant I think.

    “hope the studies they do arent linking anything to football”
    ********************************************
    @clevelandschronic2 So what are you suggesting? They should have an answer before they do the research? They should go into the study not wanting to connect the injuries to football? NO, they should be proper scientists and rigorously follow the scientific method, forming hypotheses, testing them scientifically, then use proper methodologies to answer their scientific questions. I’m not sure why you want them to do the research with preconceived results? That makes no sense scientifically.

  43. castleanthrax says: May 4, 2012 1:21 PM

    why oh why do they not also make mouthpieces mandatory in the NFL?

    Completely contradictory as helmets can only do so much against concussions.

    today’s mouthpieces are much more advanced than they were even 5 years ago and offer almost as much protection against a concussion as a helmet does.

    Florio, in all seriousness you have the ear of the NFL in a way. Ask them this, why do they not make the mouthpieces mandatory.

  44. glenne81 says: May 4, 2012 3:29 PM

    whatever the cause, metal illness isnt funny. unfortunately one is unaware there is anything wrong even when one’s thinking turns dark like his did. he wasnt selfish, he was sick. he is not a villian.

  45. beefkurtanz says: May 4, 2012 9:24 PM

    Sounds like the family is as classy as Junior seemed to be. Best thoughts.
    ––———————————-
    Yea it’s so classy to blow a hole in your chest and leave your family and children behind to deal with it later.. Real classy.
    Before all you start huffing and puffing I’m not taking anything away from the player he was on the football field and off for majority of his life. But if you people see nothing wrong with what he did then I kindly ask you to go do us a favor and do the same!

  46. belicheckyoself says: May 5, 2012 11:54 PM

    I think some research needs to be conducted into the effects of repeated impacts to the front of the brain( on the inside of the skull)

    This is something the NFL should consider as part of “the pie”
    They have the relatively small amount of $ to fund the research.

    There are prolly certain psychological tendencies that get a guy to become a pro football player as well; these may be worth looking into (it’s a bitterly difficult piece of work, and requires a type)

    Psych research is at best nearly impossible (bias)

    @londonfletcher – “safety” improvements on cars have not served to save many lives or injuries. I believe something else goes on there.

    I also think science is as corruptable as any other aspect of knowledge, and as such, care should be taken in judging all expectations and results. Jussayin.

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