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Junior Seau’s family unsure about donating his brain

San Diego Community Mourns Suicide Death Of NFL Legend Junior Seau Getty Images

The family of Junior Seau is still undecided about whether to allow his brain to be studied by researchers looking for clues about how collisions on the football field can cause brain injuries that affect players later in life.

On Thursday Shawn Mitchell, a pastor for the Seau family, said they had decided to let researchers study his brain. But today the pastor said the family is unsure what to do.

They have now stepped back from what they were thinking initially,” Mitchell told Reuters on Saturday. “Nothing is definite right now.”

Mitchell declined to say whether any issues arose to make the family reconsider. It is also not clear whether Seau expressed any wishes to anyone about what he wanted done with his body or his brain after his death, and it is unclear which member of Seau’s family would ultimately make the decision. The divorced Seau is survived by his minor children, his parents and siblings.

“I don’t want to give the impression they’re not going to anymore,” Mitchell said. “We thought everything was kind of nailed, and now it’s in flux. I think everything is being revisited. . . . They just want to slow down, be sure they’re doing it right. With the incredible, incredible anguish and grief and pressure of this situation, they’ve been in a fog. Now, they’re getting counsel.”

Many NFL players have pledged their brains for research after their death. Most notably, Dave Duerson, who like Seau committed suicide with a gunshot to the chest, left a note asking that his brain be studied. Researchers discovered that Duerson’s brain showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can be caused by repeated blows to the head and has been linked to depression.

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41 Responses to “Junior Seau’s family unsure about donating his brain”
  1. jhart615 says: May 5, 2012 7:43 PM

    I don’t like the pressure being put on them for this after the loss of their loved one. This should be the LAST thing on their mind right now. They don’t owe anybody anything.

  2. hedleykow says: May 5, 2012 7:47 PM

    The good news is that Albert Einstein’s brain is still available for scientific scrutiny. Never doubt the upside of science!

  3. jonasgrumbyoftx says: May 5, 2012 7:49 PM

    Totally a family call.

    Leave them alone, Press.

  4. nineroutsider says: May 5, 2012 7:59 PM

    Give the family time to grieve and let them make this decision; stop asking about it!

    I just hope they think hard about why he shot himself in the chest (painful) instead of the head when they are ready to think about it. The right decision is to give it to science, but like I said stop hounding them!

  5. txxxchief says: May 5, 2012 8:00 PM

    Having low self esteem and being a failure in relationships and business ventures has also been linked to depression.

    Apparently, former NFL players with profit in mind are the most severly affected by CTE. Plaintiff attorneys and aggressive researchers looking to make a name for themselves enable them.

  6. tombradyallday says: May 5, 2012 8:01 PM

    people forget seau was a son of two parents not just a football player. leave the fam alone

  7. omniscient48 says: May 5, 2012 8:02 PM

    It is just a matter of time until one of these slime pop up and claim to be the agent for Seau’s brain.

  8. fatfreddystubbs says: May 5, 2012 8:05 PM

    I don’t like the pressure being put on them for this after the loss of their loved one. This should be the LAST thing on their mind right now. They don’t owe anybody anything.
    ————————————————–
    @jhart615
    I agree completely. I don’t doubt that studying Junior’s brain will be helpful and all that, but cripes, let his family grieve for crying out loud. The day after he died, PFT had a link to an article about the place in boston requesting his brain. Again, i’m sure it will be useful to their research, and if someone who knows more about this than me (which would be just about everyone) wants to say how there is some kind of time frame on this, i’ll retract what i’ve said, but it seems really freakin inappropriate to ask the family to make these decisions this soon.

  9. gmen4life33 says: May 5, 2012 8:07 PM

    Totally their call, I just hope an outside influence (someone associated directly or indirectly with NFL) is trying to persuade them otherwise.

    Just seems weird that they made their choice, and now are second-guessing it.

  10. gmen4life33 says: May 5, 2012 8:08 PM

    isnt*

  11. karlsummers says: May 5, 2012 8:09 PM

    I wonder why they would take back their decision…maybe waiting to be paid for the brain?

  12. patriotsdefense says: May 5, 2012 8:13 PM

    its a family matter. gotta give em space and time.

  13. discosucs2005 says: May 5, 2012 8:16 PM

    I haven’t heard anything about why he shot himself in the chest but if he indicated, or of the family feel, like he did so in order for his brain to be studied, they should do their best to respect his wishes. But whatever do should not be scrunized as I’m sure none of know all the details.

  14. kfiz14 says: May 5, 2012 8:18 PM

    Work on a monkey brain instead, same difference.

  15. fdugrad says: May 5, 2012 8:24 PM

    Surely his brain can be properly preserved until enough time has passed for his family or power-of attorney designee to make the decision while not in a state of shock or deeply grieving. Did we not see that distraught mother sobbing for her lost son? Let’s respect his entire family enough to let them mourn at this point in time.

  16. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: May 5, 2012 8:38 PM

    Seau obviously suffered from depression that might have been related to all the hit he took/dished out in football. He shot himself in the chest. It’s a tough time for them, but they should still do the right thing for Junior and for other former players who might be suffering.

  17. brenenostler says: May 5, 2012 8:47 PM

    I wasn’t happy with the way all these reports started coming out that they decided to donate the brain. I figured there could be a chance they would change their mind, but since reports have already said they would, they’re going to feel bad if they don’t do it now.

  18. tallguyme says: May 5, 2012 8:49 PM

    HAVE THEY LOST THEIR MINDS!?

  19. nodakvike says: May 5, 2012 9:08 PM

    As a person who suffers from depression and attempted suicide (obviously failed) I do think it’s important to study the brain and learn why some do what they do. But yes it is ultimately the families decision.

  20. jackblackshairyback says: May 5, 2012 9:22 PM

    He might have chosen to shoot himself in the chest so he could have an open casket funeral. There could be no rational reason why he chose what he did. People need to stop speculating and leave his family alone.

  21. txxxchief says: May 5, 2012 9:26 PM

    People who do things like Junior Seau are severely disturbed whether or not they played football or had concussions. Everyone wants to assume that he shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain for science. However, he might have wanted to wound himself, survive and receive pity from others. Maybe he was vain and wanted to preserve the mug for his funeral. No matter what the circumstance, killing himself was a selfish, weak act, and he abandoned his children. Our society needs to stop glorifying suicide. Martyring those who kill themselves only encourages others to do it.

  22. realnflmaster says: May 5, 2012 9:35 PM

    Hurry up and make the decision.

  23. mjkelly77 says: May 5, 2012 9:43 PM

    Junior Seau’s family unsure about donating his brain
    _____________________

    They hired an attorney and he told them too much evidence disclosure might impede the upcoming lawsuit against the NFL.

  24. alexb64 says: May 5, 2012 9:48 PM

    “Oh hello. I represent the NFL. I just wanted to touch base with you & let you know that we at the NFL from the top down send our deepest sympathies to you in this very tough time for you. We valued Junior as a player & person and are deeply saddened that he’s left us. That being said, we did hear a report that you were considering donating his brain to these crazy, agenda wielding wackos working with some research project. Are you religious? Oh good, cause I heard they may actually be working WITH the devil to destroy the holy tradition that IS NFL football. Oh you think that sounds weird? Oh I was just being playful. We at the NFL would NEVER make allegations at people trying to help athletes, we LOVE athletes. They make us who we are. Having said that still we’re worried that when they take a look at Junior’s brain people may get get an unfair impression of the effects of playing football in relation to what happened to Junior. I mean, say there was significant brain damage that led to crippling depression, how do we know that Junior didn’t simply willingly slam his head into a wall every day for years? I dunno, perhaps he was a big Looney Tunes fan. Anyway, I’m going to leave this check here.”

  25. pftfollower says: May 5, 2012 9:51 PM

    “It is also not clear whether Seau expressed any wishes to anyone about what he wanted done with his body or his brain after his death,”

    he shot himself in the chest just like Duerson. It seems pretty clear the he expressed his wishes with that choice.

  26. lobzila says: May 5, 2012 9:52 PM

    Not sure of the familys religious beliefs or a Samoan thing, but it could stem from wanting to bury Junior whole. Not have his spirit wandering the afterlife looking for all of his body. Give the family time to greive and make all the rational decisions based on faith and love and let them do what is best for the Seau family to lay Junior to rest.
    Sad day when a guy like Junior who appears to have life by the balls commits suicide. RIP junior, I will miss seeing you on the beach on your paddleboard.

  27. jameslongstaffe says: May 5, 2012 10:25 PM

    “We thought everything was kinda nailed & now it’s in flux.” Poor choice of words. The point is to do what Junior would have wanted, had he the capacity to decide. There is no other consideration.

  28. blancodiablo says: May 5, 2012 10:38 PM

    lobzila says: May 5, 2012 9:52 PM

    Not sure of the familys religious beliefs or a Samoan thing, but it could stem from wanting to bury Junior whole.

    —————————————————

    And what do those religious beliefs say about someone who commits suicide?

    With all the people who need transplants, organ donation should not be a choice. Granted, not the case with Junior’s brain (or anyone else), but hopefully someone could benefit from the other undamaged parts versus some silly notion of being buried “whole”.

  29. shiftyshellshocked says: May 5, 2012 10:38 PM

    Kind of morbid isn’t it?

  30. scrapingthefloorioforstorios says: May 5, 2012 11:33 PM

    nfl: “here’s a huge check”. seau family: “nothing to see here. move along…”

  31. jessethegreat says: May 5, 2012 11:51 PM

    blancodiablo says:

    With all the people who need transplants, organ donation should not be a choice. Granted, not the case with Junior’s brain (or anyone else), but hopefully someone could benefit from the other undamaged parts versus some silly notion of being buried “whole”.
    —————————————————-
    Who are you to tell someone they have to donate their organs? It’s their choice. There is no governing body that can or will make people donate their organs. We have freedom of religion in this country and if one’s religion delegates they be burried fully intact, they should be allowed to do exactly that even if they took their own live. Personally, I will not be an organ donor. I donate blood and if my children needed a kidney one day, I wouldn’t hesitate, but I will be burned with all my organs intact because that is MY RIGHT. If you were allowed to decide who gets your organs, I might reconsider, but until that time I’m sticking with my choice.

  32. worstwebsiteever says: May 5, 2012 11:57 PM

    “lobzila says:
    May 5, 2012 9:52 PM
    Not sure of the familys religious beliefs or a Samoan thing, but it could stem from wanting to bury Junior whole. Not have his spirit wandering the afterlife looking for all of his body. Give the family time to greive and make all the rational decisions based on faith and love and let them do what is best for the Seau family to lay Junior to rest.
    Sad day when a guy like Junior who appears to have life by the balls commits suicide. RIP junior, I will miss seeing you on the beach on your paddle board.”

    THIS.

    What is wrong with the world? People thumbs down RIP posts? Not just for Jr., but all of them. Sad state of affairs.

    Football is a sport.

  33. insider7 says: May 6, 2012 4:53 AM

    Can there be any doubt that the NFL is hoping that Seau’s brain is not donated for study?

    If his brain is studied and there is evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalitis (CTE), then that would be a PR nightmare for the NFL and a strong infusion of momentum for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that was recently filed against the NFL.

  34. philyeagles5 says: May 6, 2012 5:25 AM

    yeah cuz hes getting so much use out of it now.

  35. jjbadd says: May 6, 2012 5:37 AM

    A couple of things come to mind as I read these posts:
    1, I sort of understand why they asked so quickly for his brain, there is no way they could wait until the family has grieved first, it would be long gone by then.
    2- It should be ones choice whether to donate organs, anyone who thinks otherwise have simply lost their sense of freedom!
    3- I have mixed feelings on whether or not Jr. would want his brain studied, to provide any evidence against the game or the NFL, that everyone claims he loved so much..
    4- This whole thing is sad, & as a person who fights depression every moment I’m alive, I am only here, because I choose not to leave my 4 yr old son alone in this world. I’m sure I wouldn’t be here otherwise.. Maybe he thought his children were old enough to take care of themselves? I don’t think his decision makes him weak though, depression is a powerful, powerful thing…

  36. kwags70 says: May 6, 2012 7:59 AM

    Regarding the calls for allowing his family privacy to grief, I’ve no doubt that they are in a lot of pain right now and I feel sympathy for the loss of their father /son / brother. However, I think they gave up any expectation of privacy when they held a press conference within hours of his body being found. And now family spokespersons and random pastors who were quick to give the press the “scoop” on the donation of Junior Seau’s brain are backtracking because they spoke too soon.

    Junior Seau’s death has elevated to a three-ring circus in record time. It would be nice – and refreshing – if his family and friends didn’t make the press seem as though they are pivotal to this very private process. Just do what you feel is best for the legacy of the dearly departed and stay out of camera range.

  37. weaponx73 says: May 6, 2012 9:53 AM

    I find it absolutely shocking that people think its ok to crack jokes about Junior. I’m sure they would tell me to lighten up that the family isn’t reading there posts but I would ask them how cool they would be about people making fun of their recently deceased relative.

  38. peepeetoucher says: May 6, 2012 11:27 AM

    People kill themselves everyday in this world. I’d say maybe 60 to 90% probably never even played football on any level. I don’t know why everyone is just assuming that Mr. Seau killed himself do to having concussions when playing football. Not saying it couldn’t of happened but sometimes people just have a natural chemical imbalance in their brain that leads to depression. Why does that need to be scientifically proven either way? Whats it going to change when we’ve got an answer. The game of football isn’t going anywhere, we’ll still have concussions. So why does the family have to feel this added pressure in the worst times of their lives probably, that if they say no to this they are horrible people and don’t care. Let him be. R.I.P Junior

  39. blancodiablo says: May 6, 2012 1:30 PM

    jessethegreat says:May 5, 2012 11:51 PM

    blah…I’m a narcissist….blah

    ————————————-

    So youre willing to donate your organs, but only if it benefits someone of your choosing? I wonder if you will feel the same way if someone close to you needs a liver. Nah, youre great.

    A corpse should be cleaned out like aluminum cans on recycling day. Its funny people are willing to recycle newspapers to save a tree but when it comes to a body part (from their post-alive self) they are not willing to save another human’s life.

    And spare me the bit about freedom. Who benefits more from freedom; a person struggling to stay alive or the one that is already dead?

  40. deathmonkey41 says: May 6, 2012 3:20 PM

    The Seau family actually did donate the brain, but it was accidently destroyed and replaced with the brain of Abby someone…

  41. jessethegreat says: May 7, 2012 11:23 AM

    blancodiablo says: May 6, 2012 1:30 PM

    jessethegreat says:May 5, 2012 11:51 PM

    blah…I’m a narcissist….blah

    —————————————————
    Let me get this straight, I’m a narcissist because I want to live rather than having my life support shut off because they need to pull my organs as fast as possible in order to ease the transplant for someone I don’t even know?

    Wanting to chose where my organs go if I were to die makes me a narcissist? My sole obligation belongs to my family, not you and yours. I’d gladly give any organ to my family members when I die. Rather than having my organs ripped from me and distributed randomly (organ donors), I’d even be in favor of my family auctioning them off to the highest bidder (To benefit my family).

    I have no obligation to society to donate my organs and neither do you. It means nothing to me if you die or live because you need an organ. Just part of the life cycle.

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